Words from your friendly neighborhood zoo lady

There was time when we just had a dog. One dog. A white one. A girl dog, named Sadie. And then we bought a house and had more room and so we got another dog. A black one. A boy dog, named Luke. And so then we had two dogs, which is still pretty normal.


And then the cat happened. And then we got another cat. And then I started feeding the wild cats, including the possum cat and the raccoon cat, not on purpose really, but on accident because even if I put up a sign that said the food is for WILD CATS ONLY, I don’t think the possum cat or the raccoon cat would give a shit and not only because they can’t read, but also because putting up signs like that seems vaguely segregation-era reminiscent and I don’t want to be connected in any way to that sort of bullshit.

Anyway, clearly things have, at this point, gone far and beyond normal, in a lot of ways, but especially in the critter sort of way. I’m pretty sure it’s only gotten worse since Andrew left for Alabama because now he’s not here to talk to when random and ridiculous things come to mind so instead I just tell them to the cats and the dogs and they repay me by being generally awful and occasionally very, very sweet.

A few weeks a go I became convinced that a certain stray cat, Grey Ghost, was trying to die on my front porch. He used to be the fattest cat daddy on the block, but he showed up a few months ago looking scrawny and not as happy. He’s the only wild cat who has ever let me touch him, and so I love him more than most of the wild things that hang out on my porch.

As spring encroached, Grey started looking worse and worse and I’m pretty sure he suffers from the same allergies I do, as the last time I was able to get close to him he was congested and his eyes were full of gunk.

All I could think about as I sat with Grey on the front porch, wine glass in hand, was about that fucking blue jay Luke killed, and how I was going to have to dig ANOTHER FUCKING HOLE for this sad and pathetic cat and how holding a dead bird was awful enough and how holding a dead cat was going to be THE ABSOLUTE WORST and while I was sitting there, thinking about all this, I was trying to figure out how much I could drink before I lost the ability to operate a shovel.

And then I resolved to catch him. He’s been on the list of cats to catch for a while, since he still has testicles and that’s against the rules for cats who eat on my front porch because Bob Barker told me to spay and neuter my pets and I take that shit very, very seriously.

So the next day, he shows up and I tried to catch him and it went FUCKING HORRIBLY. He was not pleased. And then he disappeared. I thought he died. I was determined he had died. But then, Sunday, as I was mowing the grass, he reappeared. Meowed at me. Looked mournful. And then walked away.

I am 98% sure he’s just fucking with me.


Yesterday I caught myself talking to dogs who couldn’t hear me TWICE.

The first time was in the parking lot of the grocery store were I caught myself staring at the profile of a very happy pit bull in the passenger seat of a car parked next to me. My windows were rolled up, but I still told him no less than six times that he’s a very good and very cute dog.

And then on the way home I spotted a beautiful German shepherd running with its person and I caught myself telling it, as I drove past, that it was a “very good dog, and so healthy too, but also a very, very good dog, yes you are, you good, good dog,” and so on and so forth.

I’m vaguely concerned that Beanie, my black cat, is actually the devil, or a the very least the actual Basement Cat. He spends a ridiculous amount of his time scratching the paint off the door to the basement and has even learned that if he tries really, really hard he can rattle the door open. It’s disconcerting, to say the least, to come home or downstairs in the morning to find the basement door open, just a little, knowing that it was closed the last time you saw it.

I’m starting to believe his basement door scratching is a desperate attempt to get down there and wage destruction, or kill spider crickets, or plot his world domination plan or, at the very least, figure how to get cat famous on the internet.



Also, RACCOON CAT, who is not the usual Raccoon cat, showed up, which means there are RACCOON CATS. As in plural.


This one did not care that I was watching it eat. He did not give one single shit and sat there shoveling food into his cute little mouth with his cute little hands while occasionally glancing at me, peering out the windows along with two dogs and at least one cat. He is brave, this one. And ADORABLE.

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7 thoughts on “Words from your friendly neighborhood zoo lady

  1. girl, I relate to this on so many levels. not only do I talk to animals that can’t hear me (all the time), I feel as though it’s my personal duty to leave food for all the strays that work near my office (I work in a really industrial area). some of them have names too.
    I would have at least 4 more pets IN MY HOUSE if shane would allow it.
    and omg, that raccoon. death by cuteness over here.

  2. SaraAnn

    I love you and I say this in the least judgey way possible…you are so damn strange. You and your critters. But since I live in a glass house, I shouldn’t throw stones;) I am as weird as they come!

  3. Ash


    I love your writing, T. And your animal-tude!

    So, how do you KNOW those 2 dogs couldn’t hear you? Really, dogs do have incredible hearing, and, might just be able to pick up telepathic signals, too, so even if they couldn’t hear you with their ears, perhaps they felt your happy thoughts and it made them feel good!

    We have a raccoon-cat, too. Kodi-bear (who is not really a bear but is a dog as big as a bear) likes to scare it almost every night. Kodi runs to the end of the deck and rears up on his back legs, then comes crashing down on his front paws, usually twice, which makes a huge thumping sound, and raccoon-cat scitters up a tree. He stays there while I spotlight him, then I drag the bear-dog back inside.

    So glad you have a menagerie! <3

  4. i’d just like to think since i’m allergic to most animals and can’t have a pet that you’re making up for it with your awesomeness and critter loving, ha.

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