There’s a YouTube video currently up that shows the scared and alarmed expressions on a cat’s face when a possum takes over its food bowl. While the cat’s reactions are amusing, the cat’s owners need to consider their pet’s actual safety instead of just chuckling.
While possums don’t generally carry rabies, they can transmit other diseases to your indoor/outdoor pet. They can also inflict some very severe bites – an adult possum has 52 teeth.
Many possums won’t ‘back down’ when they’re hungry, nor do they meekly lie down and play dead like the folk tales claim. I’ve had a bad confrontation with a large possum, and don’t care to repeat it. I’d left our outdoors cat’s food bowl out well after dark, not realizing wildlife could be attracted by the smell. When I looked out the kitchen window, our small calico, Callie May (our very best mouser) was looking scared and edging away from her food while a very large possum menaced her.
I immediately went out the back door, yelling and waving my arms at the intruder. It didn’t budge; it took another bite of food. Poor scared Callie slipped past the ugly beast, running to get behind me. It lunged at her and snapped as she ran past. I tried yelling louder at the thing, figuring it’d back down, but instead it hissed, snarled, growled … and then started for my ankles with its teeth bared.
I grabbed Callie up in my arms and ran for the back door, screaming for my husband to come out of his home office and come get rid of the nasty thing. (Oh, did it ever stink. I’ll never forget that stench.)
So please, dear readers, don’t leave food out for your pets unless you can stay with them and their bowls. Have a broom, walking stick or shovel handy to whomp an intruder.
Hopefully someone will rescue that poor terrified cat on YouTube and scare the possum enough times it gives up and stays away. If you have wild animal problems, contact your local wildlife office. But please don’t leave your pet to defend itself and its food all alone. The odds aren’t in favor of your cat or dog.