Did you know that we call the cute marsupial we’ve all seen so many times an “Opossum” here in the states, but in Australia, they use the term “Possum?” Well, their version is slightly different than ours, but I find that interesting.
We have a very robust relationship with wildlife ’round these here parts. For a year or so now, we’ve been enjoying regular visits on our porch from what we originally thought was one Opossum. We became suspicious when we saw a similar looking Opossum making similar nightly rounds. After a while, we were all but certain there was more than one Opossum because we, in fact, saw two Opossums together – on the porch. And even after that, we were witness to a third Opossum trekking the same path. Over time, we learned who was who by the differences between their ears and tails. Opossum ears and tails easily succumb to Winter frostbite which oftentimes leaves them in ruins.
Now, you ask why we have these nightly visitors? Well, I’ll tell you. During the warmer months, I like to throw eggshells on the back lawn. They’re great for the grass. Apparently, they’re also great for attracting Opossum.
Now, please bear with me here because this story gets better.
A few months ago, a new visitor began climbing the stairs of the back porch to sit and watch us through the sliding glass door. This visitor is an orange cat that we have fallen deeply in love with. I named him “Darth Sidious.” Ask me why – no don’t.
Anyway, this cat’s cute little head is nearly impossible to resist, so we have recently been spending some quality time with him out there on the deck. We sit down as he wanders around, only to roll here and roll there. He purrs and rolls and climbs on our laps. For an outside cat that very well may be a stray, he is wonderfully affectionate. Really a great cat that I truly adore.
There have been times when we thought Darth was a bit too skinny, so we gave him a pinch of dry cat food and some water. I won’t sit here and lie and tell you that this wasn’t a strategy to keep him around. When we see the motion light blink on, usually after 9PM, we both dart across the room to see who it is. The cat, or the Opossum. Either way, the visits are welcome, but we only pet the cat, so there may be more of an affinity there.
We’ve yet to see the Opossum and the cat appear together, which is strange because their visiting times tend to coincide. I suppose there is a slim margin of just a few minutes, and if we were both out on the back porch playing with the cat, I’m sure the Opossum would bend his furry little head around the corner and decide to wait things out. Now, if we weren’t playing with the cat, and if he were out there on the porch all by himself, I tend to believe that the Opossum wouldn’t bide his time. He would simply climb the stairs of the porch as well. I’ve suspected that for some time.
A few mornings ago, Simon, our indoor orange cat, looked upset. He was all frazzled and uncharacteristically (as of late) jumped up in bed with me. He walked all along my chest until I lifted the blankets up and let him in. He bolted down between my legs where he curled up to hide. I wondered what in the world was going on.
After a few moments of playing with him, I hopped out of bed to walk down to the kitchen. I was immediately introduced to a, I would say, one foot by one foot muddy smudge on the sliding glass door that leads to the very porch I was referring to earlier. I asked what type of beast could leave a smudge at least three feet off the ground. She looked at me. I looked back. And neither of us said a word. She did offer though, that whatever animal left the smudge was the same animal that scared poor Simon into jumping into bed with me to crawl between my legs.
It was a mystery. The only animals in the area that are large enough to do something like this are the bear and the coyote.
Later on that afternoon, we were outside in the front of the house just walking around when a huge Malamute came barreling across the lawn to nearly jump into my arms. I caught her and played with her and said out loud, “I think we found our mystery animal.” It was the neighbor’s Malamute who had escaped her invisible fence. Making that long story short, we returned the dog to the neighbor.
Later on that night, our motion light blinked on to illuminate none other than Darth the cat. He was sitting in his usual spot, just looking through the glass door with the cutest eyes. I could hardly take it. She could hardly take it either, which led us both to the back porch once again for our usual play time. We sat and enjoyed the cat, gave him a bit of food and then returned indoors to most likely catch up on some reality television via Hulu.
A few moments passed by when I saw another motion light turn on – this time below the porch. I stood up and walked over to the downstairs sliding glass door to see what was going on. I didn’t see anything, so I went back upstairs to the kitchen to make sure Darth was okay. He was, but he had settled into a very intense stare, originating from the outer corner of the porch. He spotted something down on the lawn below and was quite curious what it was.
I moved around to a few more windows, but was unable to assess what the cat had spotted. I ran back downstairs, saw nothing and started to head back up the stairs. Before that though, I said something to the effect of, “Boy, we sure have had a lot of action today. Both a cat and a dog.”
When I got to the top of the stairs and as I was tiptoeing towards the glass doors, I was presented with something I never thought I would see. I loudly whispered, “Uh, you better come up here, but stay quiet.”
What did I see through the glass doors? I think a video is in order.
The Cat and the Opossum
I hope you enjoyed that. I took another video, but it’s just of me petting the cat.
After the Opossum left, I was doing a little cooking. That’s the sizzling sound you hear in the video. I looked out the kitchen window to see Darth perched up on top of the porch railing. I yelled out, “Hey, Darth is up on the railing.” He’s never done that before, so I thought it was extra special. I’m sure she was getting somewhat annoyed from running up and down the stairs, but if so, she didn’t show her annoyance in the least. She came into the kitchen and looked somewhat puzzled. Darth had obviously spotted something else down on the lawn. I thought it was the Opossum, but wasn’t sure why he would take the Opossum so seriously now when he had practically given it a high five just a few minutes earlier.
That’s when she said, “What the??? It’s a fox!!!” It was true. Darth the cat’s bionic hearing had discovered that a fox was trotting through the back yard. I saw it just as soon as I looked through the doors. I couldn’t believe it. First a dog, then a cat, then an Opossum and after all that – a fox. Now, I knew there were a whole bunch of animals around here, but this is getting ridiculous (but fun).
And I didn’t even mention the turkey running through the back yard just a few mornings ago. Seriously, we have a small group of turkeys that hang out in the farm up the road. Somehow, one found it’s way up here and was pecking around. Strange.