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TIGHT LINES: How to avoid wars with urban raccoons
Don Moyer mug

Raccoons are particularly adept at surviving in an urban environment.

They delight is dining on cat food that city dwellers leave out for their cats. Once upon a time I used to feed my cats on an old table out in my garage. The cats always seemed to be undernourished and begging for more.

Then late one evening I let my dog out in the garage and before I knew it he was hot on the trail of a large economy-sized raccoon that had been raiding the cat’s food dish. Then a raccoon decided to disembowel my cat, and I had to take the poor kitty to the vet to be put down.

From that point on it was war on the raccoons.

I got a large wire mesh live trap and baited it with cat food. It wasn’t long before I had a very upset raccoon in my trap. I transported the rascal several miles away and released him in the riparian woods along the Stanislaus River.  

Over a period of about six months I caught four more raccoons in my garage. One day I was discussing the raccoon invasion with our local Game Warden Dan Lehman, who suggested that as long as I continued feeding my cats outdoors the local raccoons were going to help themselves to the cat food and maybe kill any cat that tried to stop them.

It was then that I began to feed the darned cats indoors, and I thought I had the problem was solved. 

Guess what? If you have a vegetable garden, your friendly neighborhood raccoons think you are a godsend. They love tomatoes, squash, corn and beans. It’s mighty decent of you to grow those veggies for them. Of course, if you have a large dog that tends to reduce the raccoon depredations on your veggies.

My friend, Dr Jack Hall of Ripon, has been feeding the wild feral cats in his neighborhood, and until recently they were getting along fine. Then those nasty old critters entered the picture and began tearing up the cats in fighting over the food Jack left out.

Jack has a soft spot in his heart for a particular feral cat he has dubbed “Segundo.” Segundo has been losing weight and getting all torn up in the fights with raccoons.  I loaned Jack my live trap to see if that would solve the problem. Sure enough on his second night baiting the trap, Jack caught a big fat raccoon.

The next day Jack took the raccoon out to the large wildlife preserve area located off of Paradise Road west of Modesto and released him. A few days later, Jack caught another raccoon on his back patio and he too joined his buddy at the nature preserve.

As I said before, raccoons are very adaptable and will take advantage of almost any source of free food. To avoid having your own war with raccoons, I strongly advise that you feed your pets indoors and not invite problems.  It will save you a world of grief.


Until Next Week,

Tight Lines