Playing Possum


I woke at 3:30 am this morning to find no sign of Cog. My phone showed a bunch of texts and a missed call, all from him. This was not good.

Possum textathonNote his tone goes from pleading to instructing to teasing and finally machismo.

As accurately predicted by several of our Two Ice Floes members in the thread beneath ‘Independent Cat  something besides Tramp did indeed enter our cozy abode through the magic kitty door. Located directly behind Cog’s office chair is the custom cat door with a board secured to the window sill for Tramp to sit on and contemplate the world before venturing forth. We refer to his perch as the diving board.

I was already in bed sound asleep when around midnight Cog decided to turn in as well. He shut down his computer monitors and swiveled around in his chair only to find himself face to face with a plump mostly salt and pepper possum. Whitey was frozen on the diving board in sheer terror, only to increase in intensity when Cog began to talk to him.

Being the resourceful quick thinker he is, Cog reached for his iPhone, snapped a few quick shots and then began video-taping. I’m not sure if he was motivated to film in order to have something to laugh about later or if he wanted an accurate description of the ‘incident’ for the insurance adjuster just in case something went horribly wrong.

Now that I’ve heard his story and seen the video I am just a bit put-off he was talking the possum into remaining calm and playing ball with the exact same tone of voice he uses with me. Reading Cog is one thing, but realizing I am the recipient of his verbal propaganda after listening to him cajole and influence that wild animal while watching the master work on another… well, I just want you to know I’m on to you Mister.

Slowly talking his way past the possum, Cog carefully maneuvered around his desk. Aside from a few twitches of his ears, Whitey remained frozen in place. As Cog continued to film he interrupted his mesmerizing possum mantra and loudly called out for me to wake up. Alas it was to no avail; he was running solo for this little adventure. Leaving the office for a moment, Cog hurriedly scooped up Tramp and shut him in the bedroom with me. The last thing he wanted was to get stuck between two furry animals with sharp claws.

Retrieving a broom from the closet, Cog returned to the office still talking in the same calm soothing voice while he used the stick to open the kitty door behind the diving board. Whitey turned his head to look out, but remained frozen in place. Freedom wasn’t sufficient bait to overcome his fear. Cog quickly realized it was going to take a bit more encouragement than his Weirding Way and an open door to get Whitey back outside.

Returning to the scene with a second broom stick, Cog once again propped the door open with the first stick and used the second stick to gently nudge Whitey. Cog was a bit disappointed he had to stop videoing the episode and use both hands and had briefly considered using the tripod to hold the phone while he worked. But it happened to be sitting on the windowsill next to Whitey so Cog erred on the side of caution and ceased filming.

Slowly Cog opened the cat door and began to gently persuade Whitey towards freedom. Whitey decided to stop playing possum and reluctantly turned towards the cat door behind him, only to slide off the side of diving board. In what Cog describes as an amazing feat of possum dexterity, Whitey dangled from the side of the board hanging from his back feet.

Cog retracted the stick holding the door open and now used both sticks to hoist the fat, now hissing possum back up on the diving board. Finally back where he started, Cog continued pushing and lifting until Whitey’s front paws were out the door. Suspended half in and half out Whitey once again froze lol. Not to be deterred Cog poked a few more times and the furry guy got the message and finally departed. Cog says the last he saw of Whitey he was hurrying past the window on his way home to tell his story.

Still thinking on his feet Cog immediately locked the cat door, then located Tramp’s kitty collar with the magic magnet used to release the lock and let the door open from the outside. Freeing Tramp from his temporary exile, the collar went on with little fuss and Cog’s castle was once again safely returned to the illusion of security for a night.

I located Cog at 3:30 am where he had finally collapsed on the living room Lazy Boy. I had seen his frantic texts and missed phone call and asked what had happened. He relayed the story to me in its entirety, complete with images and video proof. We’ve hung out on the internet long enough to live by the mantra, “Pictures or it didn’t happen.”

I imagine Whitey got home after his trip to our house and burst into his dwelling. “Gladys! Gladys, you’ll never believe what just happened to me! You know that cave, the one on the big hill that lights up? Well, I found a way in and there’s a gigantic bear that lives there! And I came face to face with him. Gladys, you’ll never believe this, he talked to me! I was terrified! But I did just what we learned and played possum while he beat me with a stick. And it worked! Gladys, it was just awful.”

After Cog told me the story, presented his proof and we spent an hour laughing, we attempted to get some rest. Perhaps Cog was still suffering from a bit of PTSD (Possum Traumatic Stress Disorder) because he never fell back asleep.

The hilarious video of the incident can be viewed below.

Mrs. Cog


4 thoughts on “Playing Possum”

  1. Mr Cog,

    I’m very impressed with your calmness and camera work in that situation. You continue to “WOW” me moar and moar each day.

    Mr Pepper

    1. Mr Pepper,

      We won’t discuss the first 20 seconds right after I turned around and found myself 4 feet away from Whitey. All I will say is I did not squeal or shout like a girl. :-)

      But it took some effort to remain calm when within I was so startled. I often wondered how I would react if I came face to face with a wild animal in the house.

      Now I know. :-)

      Before I began shooting the video I tried to get up and I must have moved too fast because Whitey hissed and bared his teeth and claws. It was then I realized he had me cornered against my desk and I had better talk him down or I would be visiting the local hospital looking for rabies shots.

      Seeing the video afterwards, Mrs. Cog and I found it hilarious that I was talking to him like he’s a fellow human who could understand my words. I remember thinking I wanted him to sense my good intentions so he wouldn’t try to bolt off the platform. If he got further into the house it would have been very difficult to remove him without hurting him.

      And I didn’t want to hurt him. After all I was the idiot who left the cat door unlocked. And the cat door, especially when the room is lit up at night, is an attractive nuisance to wild life. I didn’t want Tramp to come in and freak out….nor the wife. So the only animal in the room equipped to handle the situation was me.

      Get er dun! :-)

      Cognitive Dissonance

  2. First winter on the land 42 years ago we (wife, 1 year old son and I) had to move into first shelter – small dome that became a shop later when house got built – before it was completed. Among other things, it had a blanket for a door. So there is a scratching down under the sink early in the morning, and I, thinking it to be a racoon, clambered down the ladder from the loft wearing slippers and not much else to shoo it out and flashlit up a spotted skunk.
    I got really civil and nice really fast…it was a small dome and our only shelter at the time, and would have become uninhabitable really quickly if I scared it any more than it already was. I backed off and adopted a very soothing tone, and it mercifully left a few minutes later. Next day the door became the priority, and I did not go to bed before a temporary plywood door was on and hung – took all day because it was a weird shape to fit the top into the triangle of the dome – don’t have any pictures because we didn’t have a camera in those days. Final door went on three days later.
    Those were the days, my friend.
    Had forgotten about it until your possum story – thanks.
    We have a cat door that stays closed unless we are gone, allowed access to the cat box and bathroom where the cats slept at night. Neighbor feeds cats and we always used to find find racoon tracks in bathroom when we come home. Haven’t left since Maril died last year, so door has been closed awhile. Racoons really like cat food…

    1. Nobody,

      It’s funny how this possum story has prompted so many recollections from our readers. Even non members who could not leave a comment emailed us to share their own stories. There are many common life experiences shared amongst we mere mortals and one of them appears to be encounters with wildlife in all sorts of situations.

      Thank you for sharing yours.

      Cognitive Dissonance

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