Welcome to Animal Kingdom

Our yard is becomming quite the zoo, it appears. We’ve always had squirrels, but what homeowner hasn’t? They don’t matter though. For a year or two we’ve had a chipmunk running around (near as I can tell, it doesn’t sing). And there’s the occasional herd of deer that wander around our neighborhood. Fortunately, they haven’t learned how to jump over our fence to get to the tomatoes, although I have seen them jump other privacy fences in the past so I know they could if they wanted to.

This past week, though, has suddenly gotten more disturbing.

Last week, we had an exterminator out to kill off some bugs we had living in the basement. While he was inspecting the outside perimeter, he commented, “did you know you have a dead squirrel here?” Which was ironic, as just a day before I had been thinking about how I’ve never seen a dead squirrel before. We have hundreds in our neighborhood, but where did they go to die? The fabeled squirrel burial grounds? I was never sure. Well, we had (most of) one in our yard near our deck. And when the exterminator looked under the deck (which sits directly on top of a concrete patio, so it’s only about six inches off the ground), he spotted a dead mouse. Which was odd, because we’ve never had a mouse problem.

This morning, however, I’m concerned I found the culprit. Or, culprits as the case may be.

I had just gotten up and had gone out to the kitchen to get ready to leave the house this morning, when I happened to glance outside on the deck. I was quite surprised to spot two cats sitting on the step leading from the deck to the yard. One orange cat, one black cat. I walked outside to shoo them away, but I didn’t see where they ran off to, it still being pre-dawn at the time so not much light was available. But now I’m concerned they’re living under our deck. What’s more disturbing, a few nights ago, we had the windows open, and at about midnight we were both awoken to the sounds of a cat screaming its lungs out in agony. Which, while I won’t go into details, I remember learning is a sign that there’s mating going on.

So now I’m concerned that not only do we have two cats living under our deck, but at some point in the future we’ll have five or six more little cats join them.

We already have plans of pulling down the deck and putting on a built-in extension to the house in its place. Hopefully we can get started on that before it’s too late. According to the Internet, the average gestation period for cats is a little over two months. So we don’t have much time to pull down their happy home and get them to move on elsewhere.

Normally, I’m a huge cat lover. But having them living in the wild under the deck is quite different from having them living inside the house as pets. And the former situation is not one that I desire. I’m still hopeful that the cats were just visiting our yard, but only time will tell. Well, either time, or more dead wildlife in the yard.

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