John Howell’s Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Filled she coon gets ride across river

The old she coon kept getting bolder and bolder among the damncats at Annie Glenn’s Bed and Breakfast, walking up and eating herself full. Finally late one afternoon, I found myself in a tug of war with her as she pulled the feeding bowl toward her and I pulled it away.

That’s when I got enough. I took the feeding bowl I had finally managed to pull away from her and put it inside the trap that I had unsuccessfully tried to catch her in before. If she was going to eat from that bowl, she was going to have to do it inside the trap, I reasoned.

We had accumulated enough damncats at that point that we didn’t need to be feeding extra mouths. I’ve lost count. I think this damncat colony got started with a stray or two who arrived in 2004. At one point we participated rather vigorously in the neutering program offered by the Panola County Humane Society. I would trap them and take them to the vet for the surgery.

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The trouble was that when we’d get them back and they’d start settling in and becoming more tame, something would happen to them. Sometimes it was Eureka Street traffic and sometimes they’d just disappear.

(Not counting the damncat that I took back for a second trip. Fortunately, the folks at the vet realized my mistake in time, but it was embarrassing for me and the damncat who also disappeared after the second trip.)

The still-fertile damncats, meanwhile, just kept thriving and prospering. Which soon got us where we are now. Which means that we need to go back to the Panola Humane folks. Damncats and coons don’t get along either. Especially she damncats with damnkittens.

The coon is obviously more powerful than the damncat, but the damncats are quick enough with their claws that they could slap old Sister Coon with outstretched paws. They made a clicking, tearing sound as the claw pulled away from the coonskin when it was withdrawn. The trouble was that Ole Sister Coon just hunkered down against the licks. She stayed there and ate herself full in spite of all the scratching, growling and caterwauling directed toward her.

But she was determined to eat her fill the night I put the food bowl in the trap, so I caught her. When I saw her out in that trap, she was digging and scratching, reaching here and there in a frenzy. I worried that if I left her in the trap overnight, she’d let herself out.

Never mind that I had told Rubert Morgan I would bring him the next coon I caught. I didn’t want to call him at that hour of the night. Instead, I released that coon next to the Tallahatchie River — on the north side so she’d have to swim if she was going to beat me back.

I saw my old friend Sherry Chapman Fink Sunday and reported my success. Sherry and her husband Larry live on College Street, feed a host of damncats also and trap an occasional coon.
And an occasional fox, they told me then.

Now what?