So We Have a Pet Raccoon Now, Apparently

I have a special talent when it comes to cats. My cats come with hidden diseases and disorders, and then, thanks to my excellent care, live forever. My first two cats of my adult life, Shadow and Pipsqueak, lived to be 17 and 19, respectively. Pipsqueak was insanely obese, yet had perfect health until his last years, when he was partially blind, completely deaf, and riddled with arthritis. Yet he was very happy, and died of old age in my arms. Shadow was a different story, which some of you know. Suffice to say he had major surgery at age 2, dealt with constant UTIs for the rest of his life, and lived for 15 years after surgery, which is a pretty great return on investment.

Duchess is our current magic cat.

Duchess only has one kidney. The other 3 cats from her litter are all dead, but she is 13 years old and thriving. Every single time the vet examines her, she double checks Duchess’ age because she can’t believe how old she is. Despite the single kidney, Duchess has the kidney function of a healthy adult (not senior) cat. She has almost no teeth tartar. Her blood work is that of an adult (not senior) cat. And she refuses to use the litterbox.

We have done everything. We have tried everything. In fact, we have considered calling Cat Whisperer Jackson Galaxy, because nothing works. So this summer, we moved Duchess into a new permanent residence: our screened in porch.

After moving her out, we went out of town for a month. This may have been a mistake, but I wouldn’t trade our month away for anything. She was totally fine. Her shots are all up to date and she had current flea and tick protection. The porch is sheltered with a solid roof. Yes, it was hot, but she’s an animal and had plenty of water, and was visited daily by a pet sitter.

We didn’t realize that she was making friends.

Last night, after I had gone to bed, Dale noticed our other cat, Kwazi, going crazy, running from the window onto the porch to the door. He got up to investigate, opened the door and discovered this guy. He was sitting on the table eating Duchess’ food. Meanwhile, Duchess was laying in her favorite chair, relaxed as could be.

You may notice the dark screen next to Bud (that’s the raccoon’s name). While we were gone, the screen was ripped open and Duchess escaped. Our intrepid catsitter found her, and we just boarded her for the remaining week of our vacation. We fixed the screen when we got home, and yes, this is a temporary thing.

When Dale saw Bud, he immediately tried to bring Duchess inside to safety, but she complained a lot. When he let her go, she ran right back out onto the porch. Clearly, Duchess and Bud made friends during July. We think they have a poker game going. Duchess must have lost the last round, since Bud was eating the food. I’m not 100% sure, but I think Bud may have adopted us.

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