A tip from a reader sent me off late Tuesday afternoon to Point Defiance Park’s Five Mile Drive in search of a kitty.
This was no ordinary feline but one apparently living with a family of raccoons, according to the caller. A gray kitten, she said. Very cute.
I didn’t think cats and raccoons got along. Such an anomaly of nature seemed worthy of investigation, a photograph at least. It had national news written all over it, as one newsroom wag said.
The caller even had a general location for the kitty: it often can be seen on Five Mile Drive between mile markers 1 and 2 around 5:30 p.m.
I first called Metro Parks and the Point Defiance Zoo to find out if they had reports of the gray kitten among the park’s large population of beggar raccoons. No reports, they said with a laugh. And while such a co-mingling seemed very rare to them, they supposed it possible.
So off I went. The sunny afternoon was waning and Five Mile Drive was drifting into deep shade. My first trip through the park produced no sightings. So I tried again. I apologize if I scared the young girl jogging along the road as I rolled by very slowly, peering intently into the woods and then stopping every now and then for a better look. She would pass me and then I would pass her.
My second tour was more productive. I found a woman outside her car apparently feeding something among the roadside ferns. I stopped up ahead and walked back. Maybe she had seen the kitty. She got back in her car before I could reach her. But the raccoons were there, six of them. Cute little beggars. Almost tame. But no kitty.
"Here kitty, kitty," I said feeling somewhat foolish. No meow. I hoped the jogger wouldn’t come by again.
I did run into the raccoon-feeding woman farther down the road and explained my quest. She hadn’t seen the kitty either.
Another half mile farther, I spotted another family of raccoons. This time there were eight of them, one with a sore paw who limped over to a puddle of water to drink and dip its paw. I wished I had some food. Again no kitty.
I left but plan to return. I want to enlist all readers in this search. If you know of the kitty or where to find it, send me a message.
UPDATE: We have our first rakitty sighting. Joe Brentin of Tacoma e-mailed Wednesday afternoon to say he was on 5 Mile Drive last Tuesday or Wednesday about 3 p.m. and saw the kitten near mile marker 2 by the first speed bump past the gate. “I did a double-take at first because it was so strange,” he wrote. “It’s definitely small, and gray. It’s smaller than the raccoons right now.”
Contacted by phone, Brentin said that by the way the kitty was acting he thinks “the cat really thinks it is a raccoon.” The photo staff has been alerted!
Brentin continued: “I was amazed at how tame the raccoons were for being a nocturnal animal. When I drove through I probably saw 10 – 15 raccoons throughout 5 mile drive, most looked like they were expecting food!”
UPDATE NO. 2: Looks like KOMO TV tracked down the story. The cat’s name is Rocky and he’s been rescued.