Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Patio Friends for B.E.

Not too long ago, Boyfriend Extraordinaire told me a story that totally tickled me.

He keeps stuff on his patio that he either intends to sell or that he can’t bring himself to throw away; things like old computer cases that have been gutted of all working parts. With only a tarp for protection from the elements, the patio detritus is a veritable minefield of mysteries.

There is a neighborhood cat who we call Kitty Schwee.

He lives next door to Boyfriend Extraordinaire with a guy who lets him out all day long, so Kitty Schwee hangs out with my Schwee all day. For about a year, Kitty Schwee had fleas so bad that he frequently had to go to the vet for treatment, and even had to have his tail shaved. As soon as he received his treatment, things would start to improve for a few days, and then he’d be infested with fleas again. Something was re-infesting him.

Boyfriend Extraordinaire hangs out on the patio with Kitty Schwee daily, and he’s even dedicated a little area of his garden to growing plants Kitty Schwee likes to roll around in. The cat might sleep in a house next door, but this cat has chosen B.E. as his human.

On the patio, B.E. noticed that there were tons of fleas, so one day he chased off Kitty Schwee and set off a flea bomb on the patio to kill the fleas once and for all. After all the fleas had died, B.E. decided to clean the area of some of the extraneous junk, and he hauled a bunch of old computers to the dumpster behind his house. One felt a little heavy, but he didn’t think much of it.

Well, that computer wasn’t empty. It was someone’s house.

I introduce you to Possum Schwee.

Possum Schwee survived direct exposure to a flea bomb, living in a computer for who-knows-how-long, and seems to have been a good buddy of Kitty Schwee’s for quite some time. So, um, B.E. carried Possum Schwee to the dumpster inside his home, a computer, and never even knew it. On the next trip to the dumpster he saw this cute possum peeking out of the computer he’d just placed there and the reality of it hit him. I would be lying if I said it didn’t freak him out quite a bit. Possum Schwee climbed out and trotted off, accepting his eviction with dignity, newly de-flea’d and perhaps a little disoriented. B.E. fictitiously told stories of Possum Schwee living in a nearby field, but I always worried about him.

A month or so ago, B.E.’s roommate spotted a baby possum in the backyard and B.E. didn’t believe him for a few days until he saw the baby himself. I was convinced Possum Schwee was a girl and she’d had a baby, which she brought back to the patio where she’d lived with her friend Kitty Schwee.

B.E. wasn’t too keen on possums. He said they were not cute and had scary teeth, so I spent lots of time sending him pictures of cute possums. He, in turn, sent me pictures of evil possums with sharp teeth. Let’s just say it was a draw.

Today I received this collection of photos B.E. took on his patio tonight. How cute is this?!

Possum Schwee and Baby Possum Schwee!

And then there was this shot, which I think was a yawn, but it drove home how wildlife has a serious side to it that’s not all cute and fuzzy.

So, now he has a Possum Schwee Family on his patio. I hope they get along with Kitty Schwee.

What I don’t understand is that this is a man who comes all the way here to see wildlife because he doesn’t believe there is much near him, and he has a zoo on his patio.


Cat. said...

Damn, that is one SCARY yawn! HUGE mouth. I'm glad I saw this in the a.m., not just before bed....

Anonymous said...

Please be careful!

Opossums are carriers of many diseases: tuberculosis, relapsing fever, herpes virus, tularemia, salmonella, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, Chagas Disease, yellow fever, and rabies (rarely). They are important reservoirs for leptospirosis (hemorrhagic jaundice) in wildlife and humans. Leptospirosis Opossum Tracksis transmitted through the urine and feces of infected animals. Humans frequently pick up the disease by eating unwashed produce or windfall fruit, or by putting unwashed hands to their mouth (gum, cigarettes, etc.). Opossums are also heavily infested with fleas, ticks, mites and lice which are known carriers and transmitters of disease.

Virtua said...

Possums are not and have never been cute, and for the sake of Kitty Schwee, Person Schwee needs to do all he can to kill them. I hate to be so blunt, or accurate, but it's domestic animals first, then wild ones, and this possum family is putting Kitty Schwee into danger and making it virtually impossible for Kitty Schwee to recover from fleas, which btw, can result in anemia and dehydration for very small cats with very bad infestations.

Bobby said...

um, hate to sound like a wildlife hater, but I agree, kill 'em, run em off, something. horrible, disease filled creatures.

other than that, cute pics.

Happy Villain said...

WOW, you're all a bunch of possum-haters. I never would've guessed.

I'm not going to respond to these comments individually because I don't want to argue with anyone about the how I REALLY don't agree with KILLING any animal so house cats have more freedom to roam the neighborhood. (And don't get me started about the 3 house cats running around my neighborhood, killing the baby cardinals in my tree, and pissing in my yard so much that the smell of ammonia takes my breath away and I can't open my back door anymore or take my dog out in the back.)

Possums do carry diseases, but so do all living things. From what I read, possums are actually less destructive and less aggressive than many other animals, including cats, dogs, raccoons, skunks, rats, etc. Having a possum around decreases the rodent population, and they eat bugs. They are actually beneficial in the environment, even though they only average one year of life in the wild. Oh yeah, and they get along well with cats.

B.E. is planning on driving the possum off, partially because people are ignorant about wildlife and fear possums needlessly, and also because he's afraid someone will complain to his landlord.

If you're looking for some information on possums in your environment, try this link:

Thanks to your disagreements with me, I learned a lot about these animals and now I like them a little more. :)

Debbie said...

If it was a cute little bunny rabbit, you wouldn't have gotten such mean comments, even though rabbits also carry diseases and fleas (and can inflict nasty bites and scratches).

Anonymous said...

Happy Villain, I posted the first comment and at no time did I call for possum blood but merely urged caution. All wild animals carry risks--even cute and wild bunnies. Cat owners that allow their pets to roam should be flogged. (That does call for blood since the effect on the songbird population is tragic.)
Possums are very effective pest control and Mama Possum and Kitty Schwee have a live and let live attitude and will co-exist quite happily but a roaming cat may decide the the baby would be a tasty morsel if the opportunity arises. There are plans for possum houses if your true love decides he's a friend of the critters but caution around all strange animals, wild or domesticated is always prudent.

Happy Villain said...

I know, right? I guess possums are not the ambassador animals for wildlife that more majestic and cuter creatures can be, but I'm not one to hate any animal or give one rights over another to exist. Frankly, I think humans have less rights than any other creature to live on Earth. Consider how much destruction we cause and the diseases we carry! GAH! So, I won't be playing speciesist and I will love them all. Except maybe for spiders. And snakes. Which I still love, but will promptly beat the shit out of if they bite me.

I know your comment was kind and concerned and I truly appreciate it. While I do agree that the potential for harm to eventually come to someone or something involved is possible, I personally would be hard-pressed to get rid of a family of possums in my yard. Of course it's not my yard and it's not my decision, but it's a fascinating situation to me, who has only seen dead possums on the road. Your point is valid about the cat and possum relationship being tentative with a baby around, but I know that B.E. would never do anything to harm these animals. The man's a vegetarian for a reason. He won't hurt a fly. Literally. But thanks for responding again. I appreciate your sentiment and your input.

Rachel said...

I've noticed a lot of people are speciest when it comes to animals not being cute and fluffy.
You should read up on the Hyena, if you haven't already, which is more intelligent and less of a scavenger than the lion, yet the lion is considered to be a majestic king and the hyena a dirty scavenger, all due to looks and sound.
I love the possom pictures :D they are adorable!