Thursday, March 17, 2016

Rigor mortis kitty

Most days, homeownership is pretty great.  Then there are the days when you discover a dead cat in your crawl space...

I noticed one day that my house didn't smell too good.  It smelled faintly of dead animal or rotting fruit, but I couldn't locate a source, and it wasn't very strong.  The smell got worse over the next few days, until it became distinctly "some animal is definitely dead" and "it's definitely dead somewhere over here near the back of the house".

I looked around inside the house and found nothing, thankfully.  I figured whatever it was must be in the walls or outside, but it didn't really smell outside.  Finally, I walked around the side of the house, and lo and behold, the crawl space access panel was lying on the ground, leaving the crawl space open.  A look inside with a flashlight revealed a very stiff and bloated dead cat.

I knew which cat it was, too.  I really like cats, in general, but this particular specimen, even when not dead, was not a likable one.  It was a feral cat with nasty matted long hair and a blind eye that lurked around my yard and gave me dirty looks.  It, or the local raccoons, must have managed to claw the the crawl space access panel out, and then feral kitty went under the house to expire in private.  Poor kitty.

So I now knew the source of the dead animal smell, but not what to do with it.  I called the City's animal control department, and they said they could pick up dead animals in the yard but not if they were in, under, or on top of a house.  They gave me the number for a wildlife specialist (Lowell's Wildlife Removal), who I called to come take care of the cat.

Lowell put on his tyvec suit and dust mask, wriggled around in the crawl space, and bagged and extracted the cat.  It was stiff with rigor mortis, and very bloated, but not yet oozing.  No maggots.  No under-house soil removal was necessary.  Eew.

No photos today.  I'm sparing you the photos.

Oh yeah, and the crawl space access panel is now screwed shut.

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