I’m an incurable romantic and Cheryl’s birthday was Sunday.  Birthday’s during the pandemic are tricky because we both agreed that we wouldn’t be going out but would enjoy a quiet birthday at home.  

This year for Cheryl’s birthday, one of the gifts I got her the gift that says “I love you” like no other...a game camera.

It started a couple of weeks ago when several of the cats who hang out here simply vanished.  It seemed a little strange that they would all decide to seek greener pastures at once.  Then, about a week and a half ago, one of the remaining cats showed up one morning in rough shape.  There was a massive wound on her side that looked like something had taken a four inch bite out of her.  A few nights later, Cheryl woke up around 4 in the morning when there was what sounded like the mother of all cat fights on the front porch.  She got up, went to the living room window and looked out just in time to see something running away.

It was dark out there and she didn’t get a good look at it.  She did see that whatever it was was as big as our collie-terrier mix...which makes it at least three sizes bigger than the cat.

She couldn’t tell what color it was but thought it was dark.

The cat survived the second attack but there was another wound, just as big as the first.

We talked about it, debating what it could have been.  I have to admit it, I haven’t any idea.  The bites are too large to be any of the raccoons, possums, groundhogs or the animals we normally see around here.  We know there are coyotes in the woods but this didn’t seem like a coyote attack.  Coyotes attack in groups.  Besides, I don’t think coyotes get big enough to leave a bite that size.

Over the last ten years or so, I’ve done several stories on the possibility that there are cougars in our region.  Some folks scoff at the notion but I’ve talked to a lot of credible witnesses...including a couple of law enforcement...who swear they’ve seen them.  Their stories are a little hard to simply dismiss.

Either way, Cheryl said something about a game camera to “stake out” the porch and the front yard and I decided it was a good idea.  With her birthday coming up, a little light went on in my head and I went online to check out game cameras.

I was surprised at how expensive some of these things can be, and how affordable others can be.  I didn’t get the fanciest one but I didn’t get the cheapest one.  I got one with a reasonable price and good reviews and timed it perfectly.

Cheryl’s birthday was Sunday and after breakfast, I gave her her presents, just as the mail showed up with her brand new game camera.  She seemed delighted.  Seriously.

On Sunday afternoon, I slapped a memory card and a set of batteries and set up the camera.  At dusk I went to check it and found I had pretty good pics and videos of our cats and a few stray raccoons after the sun went down.

If the unknown animal comes back and wanders into the yard or onto the porch, we should get a decent look at it.  Once we figure out what it is, I’ll figure out what we’re going to do about it.  I don’t mind it coming up and getting a little cat food now and then.  I won’t have it coming up and having our cats as food.

If it turns out to be something interesting, a cougar or a Bigfoot, I’ll post pictures.