Rachel's Blog: The Warm Fuzzies

Sun, 02 Nov 2008

I've had a pretty ordinary day with a splitting headache for most of it which has severely curtailed actually getting anything done. My head has cleared this evening a bit, enough to remember that I was supposed to feed my mum's cats and put out the bins while she's away. Of course I don't remember this until after dark.

So I kick and curse myself all the way over there, but as I'm pulling into the drive I see a brush-tailed possum at the foot of one of the gumtrees. My mum lives in a really bushy area so that's not uncommon to see a bit of wildlife around. Mostly, though it's big, noisy smelly possums that breakdance on the roof at night. (It must be what they're doing, it makes so much noise.)

One of the cats runs out to meet me, clearly peeved at being forgotten and I stumble into the dark house, find the food and put it out.

But the cat isn't trying to trip me over at this point, or eat my hand off the way he did yesterday. I can hear him in the hall, batting at something. "A moth," I think, and switch on the hall light.

Nope. It's a little possum. A ring-tail, which if you are not aware, are one of the kewt genus of possums. So I grab the cat (harder than simply grabbing of course, this cat is focused) and throw him into the bathroom and shut the door. I sneak past the li'l cutie again in time to see her leap from under the hall table to the underneath of an old Singer sewing machine. (I say a and not the because there happen to be many, many sewing machines in the house.)

I get a tea-towel from the kitchen so as to not get my smell on the possum (at least, I know that's what you have to do with baby birds, and it seemed a safe precaution for both our sakes) and crouched next to her. She was pretty happy clinging to the metal curlicues of the table leg and had wriggled between some. She didn't seem to be in shock and wasn't injured. I put my hand gently behind her to coax her forward. I didn't want to have to grab and drag her out backwards. She came through the metal decorations willingly enough and then leapt straight at my chest, over my shoulder and sat on my back.

There was a possum sitting on my back.

She was very light, only the size of a coffee mug, if a mug had a long tail, ears and a woffly nose. Her little claws dug into the fabric of my hoodie.

I crouched there for a minute, not sure if she was going to jump off and make a dash for the darkened lounge room. But she didn't so I slowly backed towards the front door, bent completely over, and opened it.

We went through e-v-e-r s-o s-l-o-w-l-y and I began backing down the long flight of stairs that leads to the carport. No sudden moves.

About halfway down we were within reach of a medium-sized bottlebrush and Li'l Poss made a leap for it. She scrambled up the branches and began sniffing around the flowers.

Then I breathed out.

It was time to deal with the cat. Mum has a cat flap, but it's broken and needs a nail to hold it locked. Ever tried to find a nail at night in a house you haven't lived in for 12 years? Luckily I located a perfect subject fairly quickly in the laundry and went outside to secure the cat flap so the cats could get inside, but not out again. There's still one roaming around somewhere after all, but I know it's the one much less likely to chase anything.

Finally let the cat out of the bathroom, where it gives _me_ a reproachful look, and heads for the food. Hallelujah, job done.

No! I still have to put the bins out. I creep slowly down the front steps in case L'il Poss is still there, and sure enough...wait... she's bigger! and has grown two tails!

It was her mother, come to collect her from her evening out (sheesh, teenagers!) and I watched as she carried L.P. across to another tree and out along a long limb. So I dunno if L.P. thought I was a giant possum, or whether she just knew a form of transport when she saw it. It's not like I have fur or a tail, honest.

I took another look up after doing the bins just in time to see them disappear over the roof. Mum, I think you have a possum nest in the drainpipe on the chimney. Also, you might want to check your quilted bag under the hall table for possum -uh- presents.

And that was how Timmy saved Christmas.

Tragically I did not have a camera during the incident, but I can assure you that L'il Poss was even cuter than this, and this, and even this.

Comment by Ben Payne on Sun, 02 Nov 2008

Wow! That's quite an adventure!

And cool that you thought of the scent thing and such...

I wonder if your hood looked like a pouch?

Comment by kayla on Mon, 03 Nov 2008

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