Monday, 12 December 2022

Vulpine visitor.

 

My flat is on the other side of the road from a large-ish park where, as I've known for years, a 'family' or more of urban foxes live. Over time, when I've got out of bed in the early hours, I've very occasionally seen one in the back gardens scavenging for food. Even with the odd cat around outside, including my own, they ignore or just accept one another, though cats seem the more wary and somewhat fascinated, without the overt hostility or fear they'd exhibit against dogs. 

A few nights ago I found the food which I always leave out overnight for my own furry threesome not only eaten up entirely and the milk-bowl licked dry, but also my indoor rubbish bag, prior to putting in bin outside, had been ransacked, with tea bags, avocado skins, cat left-overs etc littering the kitchen floor. (I leave the kitchen window open for the cats with a small gap for them to go in and out at will on their nocturnal prowlings). I didn't give the incident much thought then and there, thinking another cat had been the culprit. However, on the following evening, sitting watching telly with one cat on my lap and another nearby, they both became unsettled and got up to peer down the hallway above the stairs. I rose to look and there, disappearing through the kitchen window was the brush of a fox tail - and evidence of ransacking once again. It was clear that at least one of them had got bolder. 

Searching the internet for a fox-repellent, they all appeared expensive and more geared to gardens or farms rather than domestic 'invaders'. But it seems that scents which foxes actively dislike include garlic (I'm with the fox there!) and chillies, so I bought some of both and, as instructed, crushed some of them in a bowl and added boiling water, which I've left on the kitchen window ledge for the last three nights. Seems to have worked. But only this morning, at 5 a.m. and temps well below freezing, looking out with a torch, there on the wall, watching me dolefully was a fox, with a pleading look which said 'Please give me some food!' I felt so incredibly sorry for the poor creature, it was heart-breaking. But didn't dare to respond as I wanted to, knowing that if I did it would only return again and again - and then acquiring a dreadful reputation as a fox-feeder and attractor from all the neighbours and beyond - and, to top it all, the lovely young couple neighbours under me (he a doctor, she a former nurse - could be extremely useful!) have an 8-month old baby!

So, as at right now I'm hoping that I don't see the vulpine visitor again, though I'm sure I will. And what if it gets brave or desperate enough to push in past the stinking concoction I leave on the window ledge? What can I do? Oh, the heartache! It hurts so! 😟



34 comments:

  1. I’m with you. I’d know the correct thing to do (and I'd do it) but it would break my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very reassuring to get your comment, Mitch, though I fear that we are in a decided minority. If only the creatures didn't have such pitiable faces it might not have been so difficult.

      Delete
  2. It would be hard to say no because I love foxes. But I understand because we had the mudroom door propped open as we "trained" some kittens to come in to eat and a racoon make its way in. That ended that. We used to feed Momma cat and her kittens on the back deck but we ended up feeding all kinds of critters! Including a skunk. Having a neighbor with a baby would definitely be a reason to stay firm and discourage the behavior.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a dilemma the likes of us have, Sadie. We know the attitude we OUGHT to have, but it bumps hard against our emotions, doesn't it? Your own cautionary tale needs remembering - and new baby in the flat below me has got to rule out any prospect of making the fox feel welcome, much as my heart wants to.

      Delete
  3. I'd have done just what you did, but then also second-guessed myself. I hate to see any animal starving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I sometimes feel that I wish we humans had the seemingly 'normal' animal ability to observe sufferings of others (both animals and humans) but then to put it out of one's mind and move on with one's life.

      Delete
  4. I'm so glad to see you post and I hope this season is finding you keeping well. When I lived in Bucks County at my apartment it was very wooded, and I had a family of foxes there. They were actually getting quite comfortable with my presence and I'm actually a lover of foxes. But your decision not to feed them is wise one. I know it's pretty and as cute as they can look, trust me they definitely can fend on their own and find food such as squirrels mice rabbits even frogs or toads, and they will actually eat many roots berries and Fallen bird seeds. Humans have to watch what kind of food they put out because Fox require special diets, and even require bone content in the meat. Certain human foods can also Gravely ill a fox or even kill it. I certainly think they are gorgeous creature, and can be quite comical to watch playing. Mind you that screaming at night when they're defending their territory can be downright disturbing and scary waking from a dead sleep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am indeed well, M.M. - and much better/healthier than many others at my advanced age, and even far younger. and am ever grateful to be so. Hope you are likewise well too.
      What you say about foxes foraging for many different forms of food gives me some comfort. I'd thought that there must be SOME things that they eat which turn out to be harmful but had no idea what. (btw: I had no idea until about 10 yeas ago that cats were lactose-intolerant, so shouldn't be given 'normal' milk!) Foxes certainly are wonderful creatures to behold - and they do look and act so 'harmlessly', though whether that's deceptive I don't know.
      I do hear the very occasional strange screechy cry, but it's exceedingly rare. But like you, I just can't help loving and admiring them.

      Delete
  5. I see foxes out in the vineyard from time to time, but not often. We're rural, not urban, so I guess they don't need to forage in our back yards. The locals hold organized hunts for foxes a few times during the season to keep the population in check. I don't do hunting, but I'm not opposed to others doing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I reluctantly accept that fox numbers need to be controlled, Walt, but I can never adjust to the fact that some, probably most, of the hunters actually revel in killing them. Is that itself sufficient reason to stop them from doing it? I just don't know to be honest. It remains entirely one of the features of some humans that is beyond my comprehension.

      Delete
  6. Oh, dear... I'm afraid I'd be a fox-feeder. Can't stand the thought of anyone or anything hungry or cold. I had a similar situation this summer... I leave my backdoor open for the dog to come and go as he pleases. This year, on three separate occasions, I had a little visitor... a squirrel. Once, I was sitting at my laptop, working away, when I caught sight of him. He'd come down the basement stairs. He left when he was ready. Then one day I heard a commotion upstairs, went up and there were little piles of dirt next to all the house plants - they'd been burying black walnuts in the plants. I leave cat food out for the ferals on my front porch, but I see a squirrel has taken a liking to it and is eating most of it. Well, he has acquired a taste for the finer things in life, now hasn't he? Who am I to deny him his standard of living?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd be just like you, U. I can't abide witnessing an animal suffering, whether it be for hunger, or physical pain, or any other reason at all. Just seeing them in a distressful situation, such as being hunted or chased, appals me so much I cannot bear to watch. On telly I have to switch channels and dare not go back till I'm sure that what they were showing is likely to be over.
      As for you and the squirrels, if it were me I'd be giving up a significant portion of my life in helping them be comfortable and contented, 'sad' as it seems. Though if I did nothing the anxiety over my inaction would consume me utterly.

      Delete
  7. I too like seeing you posting again Ray. I feel your pain. I too would like to feed the foxes but I agree with another commentator that feeding the foxes isn't a good idea. When I lived in the country (seven ares) in Pennsylvania I used to feed the deer. Yes I did. I would buy bad apples from a local orchard and leave it out for the deer. Be careful what you wish for. Because of all the development (houses) the deer were losing their habitat. I only feed them for a few years and by then they were chomping at my bushes right under my kitchen window in broad daylight. Eventually I had to give a local Amish man permission to hunt the deer on my land. He with an bow and arrow yet. Let the foxes fend for themselves, you have your plate full already feeding yourself and your feline friends.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for that comment though I'll try to blank out the vision of the fate of those deer you fed for a while.
    It's now nearly two weeks since my fox incident, though despite my now putting that deterring mixture on the window ledge every night, which is a bit of a chore, it seems to have been working. Then one morning about 10 days ago I was met with quite a bit of untidiness which made me fear that the fox had been back, though I might have been mistaken and it could have been another cat. However, other than that, no more evidence.
    Thanks for your calling by.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh hell! Seems I spoke too soon. Rising at 1.30 a.m. to see to the cats' needs, there in the hall, scoffing the cats' food, was Foxy again. He/she didn't seem perturbed by my switching the light on and by my presence, and only on my shooing did he/she make a exit through the window, the bowl of garlic and chillies on the ledge clearly not a deterrent any more, if it ever was.. Oh dear! What to do now? I can keep the window closed during the day and let the cats out and in when they want, but it's the nights that are going to be the problem, especially when the eldest cat, who sees himself as the 'boss', has a marked antipathy, even an overt hostility, sometimes with claws, to the other two. The only thing that's clear is that I can in no way allow Foxy to get into the habit of coming in, especially at night. So - one BIG problem. And more sleep-disturbed nights ahead.

      Delete
  9. I hope you can sort out the fox problem and I would just like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wishing you the very same, Carol (other than my particular present 'problem'). Hope the weather around where you are is not causing hazards you wish weren't there. Have a lovely day and a 2023 like no other - in the best possible sense. Go well, Dearheart.

      Delete
  10. Hey! A post! I am always glad to read a post and know your goings-on! Today's post reminded me of Japanese folklore foxes are often demons or spirits in fox form up to some sort of mischief. Anyway Happy Christmas and ho ho ho and good new year! oxox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Dr Spo. I'll not go into my fox problem as today, of all days, is not one on which to moan. Wishing a lovely Xmas day both you and those close and dearest to you - with a 2023 you can wish that all years were like. Take care in all that white stuff. Brrrrrrrr!

      Delete
  11. Merry Christmas, Ray!! Hope you and your gang of lovelies celebrate in whatever way you wish, as long as you're together. And stay warm--it is 5 below here in Ohio. Way too cold for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very many thanks for your wishes in this direction, Elle. I wish you and yours no less, in fact rather more as I watch the horrific news reports from around your country. And, not meaning to make you jealous, we are having an unseasonably mild Xmas which is forecast to remain so covering at least the first full week of Jan. If it remains like this throughout Winter you'll not here me complaining, though my thoughts certainly do go out to you and your compatriots. May yours thaw soon, VERY soon.
      Wishing you the best of years coming too. Do take care, wrapped up warm - and, if you can, try at least a bit of cheeriness, which may not be so easy given your weather circs. But lashings of luv from here to you and yours.

      Delete
  12. Happy New Year dear Ray and to your readers. May 2023 be happy and healthy for all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And to you as well, Carol. Thanks for popping by to wish. May 2023 bring you prosperity, even just a little more and, most importantly, good health to go with it.

      Delete
  13. Happy New Year's, Ray! My "celebration" was reading in my bed with all my dogs and cats gathered about with me. And that was perfectly fine! Hope you had an enjoyable one too, and may we have only blessings going forward!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elle. Here's wishing you (and your pets) a FABulous 2023, with fine, robust health for you all.
      I didn't do anything at all special to see in the New Year, just as I didn't also do for Xmas Day. Like for you it was just me and the cats, which was all I could have wanted, all the very few friends I've had now having passed on. Maybe I won't be far behind myself, though I'll do all I can to delay it. :-) Very best wishes to you.

      Delete
  14. Happy New Year! It’s Fearsome Beard here. Fir several years now blogger will not let me sign in to comment so I have to use the anonymous route. May your 2023 be fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In return I wish you and yours all and ONLY the best for 2023, F.B. May the powers above grant you a prosperous and healthy year ahead, as well as for all those whom you wish to share it with. I look forward to getting my daily sparkle from your blogs which I'm terribly grateful for as there aren't that many highlights left in my increasingly drab life. I'm confident that you'll continue to provide us with these 'entertainments' as long as you can. XXXX.

      Btw: It's a mystery to me why you're unable to post comments here under your blog-name as I don't have a single block against anyone at all, and as far as I know, no one else has a problem commenting here. I've just checked that you haven't become inadvertently 'banned' at my end but can find nothing to indicate it. Very strange. But thanks for letting me know so I'll keep it in mind - though in any case I still have your e-mail address as I trust you still have mine. Meantime, go on well, Sir! :-)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for checking but it seems to be a problem with all blogger blogs and I have a blogger account that I’m signed in to. There is also an issue with my commenting on Wordpress and I write my blog on Wordpress with no issue. Thus all started several years ago and I don’t know what it is. Blogger even gives me a message that my blog’s website address in invalid. I actually hadn’t tried the “anonymous” sign in before and am happy it worked. All my best for your 2023!

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. I know daily that YOU are there, JayGee, and I'd be most concerned if you, for whatever reason, stopped posting. But thanks for popping by as I'm well aware that you have many, TOO many, other blogs that you could possibly follow every day.

      Delete
  16. Oh I understand your pain Ray. So hard to not have feelings for a poor creature who is hungry and to withhold feed from that creature. But you're taking the right course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to post an update, Ron, confirming that I'm successfully keeping out the visitor' but at great inconvenience to myself, not to mention my guilt feelings for not feeding him/her when it's clearly scavenging in order to survive, probably having its own 'family' to support too.

      Delete
  17. By the ray, I'm "Ron" of "Retired in Delaware". I've tried leaving a comment with my Google account but it doesn't work on your blog. Doesn't work on Lone Wolf Concerto's blog either. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I suspect it's just another Google. hurdle that I haven't been able to figure out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not alone, Ron. 'Fearsome Beard' also finds himself unable to post comments here, telling that mine isn't the only blog he can't do it with. I can likewise confirm that I haven't blocked you, or indeed anyone at all, from commenting here. What the problem and its solution are I'm also unable to discover. But I'm moved by your trying at all - and I thank you for it.

      Delete