Mad about town: Skunked

By Carolyn Marsh | Sep 04, 2009

Somewhere tonight there will be a very unhappy skunk, as the restaurant will be closed. For the past week or so I have been feeding him wet and dry cat food under the mistaken presumption that he was my little black-and-white semi-wild cat Tina, who slipped out — again — when I (or someone) wasn’t looking. I re-borrowed the Havahart and embarked on a very devious plan that included not displaying the trap, then displaying but not setting the trap, then setting the trap but not putting the food close enough to spring it, and so on. You get the picture.

I got the picture around 4:30 this morning when I crept downstairs and peered around the corner to the screened porch where the trap lies in wait. There was indeed something black-and-white halfway in the trap, and very busy chowing down. But a closer looked showed that it was somewhat bigger than and patterned differently from Tina. So I flicked the porch light on and off to give the skunk, for such I surmised it was, a heads up, and it ambled out of the trap and around the porch for a few seconds, then slipped out the door into the lightening dark.

My other cats were wailing to be let out, but I gave my nocturnal visitor plenty of traveling time. When the other cats did go out (not Hattie; early rising is not part of her life of leisure), they were very interested in whatever smells the skunk had left — none of them the notorious skunk smell, thank goodness.

During a lengthy consultation with my personal wildlife behaviorist, I was advised to keep the porch door closed for several nights to break the skunk of his free-food habit, assuming it has not been too deeply imprinted on him. (Or her.) Of course, where this leaves Tina is another matter altogether. For a cat with only three workable legs, she manages all right — she lived quite comfortably on her own the first time she fled, earlier this summer. But I don’t know if the talcum-powder trick will work again — I sprinkled talcum powder around the trap, as her nonworking leg makes a very distinct footprint (or foreleg-print, as it were), so I was sure it was she. I think she is hiding out in the garage, but that’s no help as I’ve no way of knowing if she is in or out. Cats are so like naughty children, except children grow up and cats stay naughty forever. (Actually, so did some children I knew.)

I have just discovered that the first name of one of my oldest friends is Armand. How enchanting! Why has he settled for M—, his middle name, when he is yclept something so unique and distinguished? I have a friend in Egypt who grew up down the street from Omar Sharif, though he wasn’t Sharif then but Shalhoob, and in the late afternoon his mother would call for him out the window: Ya’ Shalho-o-o-b! I expect he changed his name right quick when he became famous.

Only a few days until the sidewalks are clear once more. I have finally figured out why I was so astounded at the number of visitors to town this summer (though it was smaller than usual, judging from the empty parking places I can see): I have never really been downtown during the season.

When I was at The Camden Herald I was tethered to my desk year-round, and at MBNA I was in Belfast for nearly six years, so I’ve never seen the town overrun. I mean full up, of course. I hope everyone has done as well as can be expected. And I do appreciate the fact that it wasn’t someone from away who nearly ran me down in a pedestrian crosswalk several weeks ago (though I’m sure any number of them would have liked the opportunity).

I pride myself on having written a whole paragraph on Camden in the summer without using the T word. I do not usually show such restraint.

Don’t expect it to happen again.
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