As my dear friend and partner in crime CC Cedras said earlier this week, Spring is here. Flowers are in bloom…..kind of.

Perhaps I should have titled this post The Winter Guest. According to my Instagram,imageMiss Priss/MP took up occasional, persistent residence in my garage sometime toward the end of November. (I can surmise the date, not because I counted back 18 weeks, but because her #skunksofinstgram post is flanked by NaNoWriMo screen shots). It was dubbed Miss Priss because only a skunk with attitude would take over with three adult cats and a dog.  I have no idea if the wee thing is in fact female, but I imagine sexing a skunk is a bit like sexing a chicken and that is a closeness I’m just not willing to experience. MP has been a chronic guest for most of the winter occasionally bringing in her mother who I suspect is the poor unfortunate who dawdled while crossing the road Sunday night.

In an effort to evict the guest(s) permanently, when the weather began to warm a few weeks ago, the cats were banished unless inclement weather threatened and fed in their communal pan on the cushion storage chest on the back patio. Stella, now takes her meals in the laundry room and food supplies are safely contained in a large yellow garbage can in the garage. Everything seemed to be working out well, until it was time to tame the front flower bed and I opened the garage doors Monday morning to get to my supplies. I had no clue Miss Priss had been waiting for her opportunity, until Tuesday morning.

Yeah, so I didn’t put the dog food exactly IN the yellow trash can….

imageHusband: “Did you leave a cat in the garage last night?”

me: “No why?”

Husband: “Dog food bag is tipped over?”

me: “Surely not?!?”

Surely so!  Tuesday night I went to the garage for a new carton of eggs and who do I see strolling around! She scampers into a little used and MUCH ignored corner of the garage stacked mostly neatly with storage boxes desperately needing to be discarded, or moved to a shelf in an overseas shipping container purchased to avoid exactly this situation. (Being stacked in the garage, not being a skunk bunker. Who anticipates that?)

Wednesday morning Operation Garage Sorting and Skunk Eviction/Trapping began. It’s a lonely job this. But as the day progressed, Miss Priss and I formed a bit of a truce. I won’t move too quickly to your corner while I work, and you don’t make me smell like a tire fire for the next month. She huddled quietly in the nook created by a plastic container, never making an aggressive move, and I slowly and quietly cleaned up. Sorting boxes and sweeping up leaves and detritus that tends to swirl around  and get lodged in corners and under shelving.

Much of her fort was destined for the dumpster. Massive snow and wind in December had blown a garage door off its tracks and allowed drifts to pile into the neglected corner. Sentimental value plummets when the objects are ruined by water, dirt and skunk tracks. image

You can see her bunker is also her outhouse. I promise, dear reader, your “Ewwww” factor pales in the face of the janitorial services crew…that would be me.

Despite the revulsion, I am a country girl. What’s a little poo? And despite being a country girl who learned early not to name the sheep, wild animals are dangerous and can carry disease, rodents will tear up your house…I began to feel sorry Miss Priss. A juvenile, who has never been aggressive or threatening was tucked into a ball in a corner she used for a bathroom. I was able to see bald patches on her head and the base of her tail, possibly mange. I also knew she’d been in the garage for two days now without food or water. And I know her most likely fate if I don’t move her away from my house.

imageWednesday night the live trap is set with cat food and water…… I’m certain she will go in.  Around 10pm I sneak to the door to see if the trap is sprung and find her playing. She was grooming and rolling around on the floor, often landing teeny pink feet up, wriggling to flip over and resume the tail chasing and feel good scratching. She must be safely relocated!

Thursday morning – no skunk in trap.

Friday morning – no skunk in trap, but trap door sprung and upon closer inspection bait and water GONE! She beat the trap! I had to hide my amusement from the Husband.

I began this tale with great anticipation of showing you a release onto the back 40 this morning. sigh….

I do hope she decides to vacate soon. Garage door repair and installation crews tend to be a bit less adventurous about working around exotic pussycats. Farmers even less so.

What are your Spring Cleaning challenges?