Cole has taken to being an outside cat lately...I changed his litter box the other day and I swear it was the first time I had done it in a month. Not complaining! The only time he feels the need to come inside is to eat and drink and he does a lot of both. Easy answer to this is to keep some food and water outside, on the deck, under the table so it discourages other animals from coming to visit and keeps the food dry in case of rain. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
Ethan has been noticing the food is disappearing awful fast. I know Cole can eat a lot, but a quart-size bowl of food overnight? Our best guess is the neighborhood fox is coming to visit, but I think we would have known if that were the case. The fox is quite loud, especially when he sees Cole or Polly (Cole's little girlfriend that lives a few houses down). That, and I figure Cole would be dead by now if the fox was sneaking into our yard on a daily basis. Let's face it, the cat is fat and doesn't move too fast, and the fox likes meat!!
Last night, we brought the food in, but Cole went outside anyway. A little while later, it sounded like someone was pushing around a chair on the deck (also very unlike Cole, unless he was trying rub against the nasty growth on his face). Ethan looks out to see a huge raccoon under the table, presumably looking for the food. Huge. Bigger than Cole, who currently weighs in around 18-19 pounds. This thing was a beast.
Note: I did not see the raccoon, so I cannot vouch for it's size. This could be like the barracuda Ethan saw when snorkling on a cruise a few years ago that started out being 'this big' and ended up being 'THIS BIG'
So, the mystery has been solved and we now have an explanation for why a Subway wrapper was laying on the steps to the deck a few months ago. Now we just have to figure out how the raccoon is getting in (can they climb? if this thing is as fat as Ethan said, it shouldn't have been able to squeeze under the fence door) and get it out so Cole can have his food outside and not sleep inside and wake me up at random hours with his incredibly loud meows. And so I can continue on the monthly litter box changing :-)