My Idiosyncrasies and How My Parents Adjust to Them

I'm the perfect pet...
well, almost!

I. Changing me from a nocturnal animal into a diurnal one.

You'll never catch me getting skin cancer! I know animals and people should sleep during the day and party all night long. Unfortunately, my surrogate parents come from Puritan stock; they're up at the crack of dawn and want to sleep shortly after the sun goes down. Worse yet, they want me to do the same, and I have to admit, they've been successful in changing my habits. They've put me on a schedule: The schedule rarely varies. If my parents go on vacation, the housekeeper keeps the schedule. The advantage of this is I know what to expect and what's expected of me.

II. Calming me during mating season.

I get pretty intense during mating season. My parents leave the lights on at night to calm me down. I already told you how I feel about sunlight; well incandescent light isn't much better. If the lights are on, I want to den up in my bed.

This past year my doctor decided I should not go into mating season at all because of my advanced age and because I had the equivalent of a small stroke . He prescribed estrogen, I'm ashamed to admit. I was given a small dose in pill form every other day for 2 weeks. Well, I certainly lost my interest in sex. It's never come back yet. I understand this treatment is often given to farm stud stock when the farmer wants his beast to "think grass, not ass", as the quaint saying goes. It certainly worked on me!

III. Eccentric behaviors

I'm not neurotic! I'll bite the first person that says I am. Eccentric? Maybe, but not neurotic.


A. Pacing
Some coons like to pace, especially during mating season. It's hypnotic; besides, we've got the urge to search for a mate. If you want to stop us DON'T lock us up in a confined place. Let us roam freely throughout the house. Giving us an illusion of freedom usually eliminates the "caged animal pacing" routine.


B. Bedwetting
I get up in the morning, yawn, stretch, do a bit of pelt maintenance, and wet the bed. This ensures that my bed is changed daily - sheets, mattress pad, blanket and bedspread. I don't look upon this behavior as neurotic, but my mother says I'm regressing to when I was a baby and my real mom took care of cleaning up after me. Well, so be it! At least I get clean bed linens every day which is more than you can say you do. Actually, my surrogate mother is afraid to let me sleep in a wet bed for fear of my getting a bacterial infection so my bed is changed daily.


C. Strategic turd placement


Ninety eight percent of the time I put my turds in the litter box where ma says they belong. Two percent of the time I use them to make a statement.

1) I may use them as an insult. As the late, great Ayatollah Khomeini said, "Don't shit on a person's grave unless you mean it as an insult." I've never shat on anyone's grave. The best I've been able to do is shit on my surrogate mother's bed when I've been particularly irritated that she's late coming home. After all, what's the point of putting me on a schedule if she's not going to keep it. Consider yourself insulted if your adult pet leaves his turds on something important to you like your bed or dining room table.

2) I may use them to mark my territory. You put up fences; I put up turds. The idea's the same: both say, private property, don't trespass. Occasionally you'll find a pile at the outside doors and/or on top of the highest piece of furniture in the house and/or in front of the fireplace. These are places I expect another raccoon to find them. If it's a lady coon, it'll tell her I'm there and to come in; if it's a male it'll tell him to stay out or be ready to fight. My parents never day a word to me about these transgressions; they simply remove them, much to my dismay.

D. Disruptive behavior
My natural instinct is to bite when I'm angry, disappointed or "uptight". As a pet coon I know I'm not supposed to bite, so I've developed other, less lethal, ways to act out. My parents may tell me "no" if they catch me doing one of these, but I'm never punished. Usually they look the other way because they know I have to have some outlet for my frustration. My disruptive behaviors include:
These are all activities I've learned my parents don't like, but are harmless, so I do them to annoy them. These are particularly gratifying if my parents are watching. Frequently they even bribe me to stop.

It's probably dawned on you by now that my parents' basic adjustment to my idiosyncrasies is to clean up after me and give me another hug.

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