October 6, 2013

KNISELY: My front porch of death


---- — My front porch has turned into a killing ground. Every time I go out the front door, it seems, I find new remains. Remains of what, I don't know. All that's left is fur and some skin. The predator, however, seems to have an affinity for animals with grey fur.

I've heard rustling on the porch many evenings, but I've never been able to catch the killer in the act. I try to peek through the curtains with no luck. The way the porch and windows are situated — and because its favorite killing spot is in the far corner — I can't see anything. If I open the door, it's gone before I get outside, taking its dinner with it.

Many times, I'll open the door at random intervals of an evening and yell, "Boogity boogity boogity," in hopes of scaring off anything that happens to be there. It's a tactic I worked long and hard at developing, so I'm stumped as to why it's not working.

Despite all my efforts though, I have swept up more furry creatures than I'd care to count.

But what continues to concern me most is, why my porch? I don't keep animals, so it's not attracted to a critter in the house. I've never fed a stray animal. I don't even have a bird feeder for passing animals to nibble on.

There's no trash collecting in the corners. There are no plants near the front porch.

And further perplexing me, the killer has to carry its prey up four steps. And these aren't easy steps, even for longer human legs. I would imagine an animal would have to work at getting up on the porch, especially if it’s carrying its dinner. Its grey-furred dinner.

Without a reason to hang an animal's presence on, I'm left to worry it's not an animal at all. I've entertained several non-animal theories, each more ridiculous than the last.

The one theory I've given the most thought to is that it's a secret admirer leaving "presents" at my doorstop. In the theory, it’s like the movie "Zookeeper." If you haven't seen it, a zookeeper learns that the animals he cares for can talk. The animals help him attract a woman and give him some advice better suited for dating in the animal kingdom.

So, my theory started as a hypothesis that this admirer has a cat advising him on how to woo a woman. The cat tells him of how other cats he knows have gotten a new owner's attention by leaving dead animals at the front door. In the cat’s story, these gifts were well received. Beloved even.

It's gone so far that I have an image in my head of the cat telling these stories.

"Works every time," the cat says slyly, sitting with its legs crossed as it flicks off the ashes from his cigar.

I would say I need professional help, but there's something else I need more. What I really need is whatever is leaving dead animals on my porch to find a new hangout, because it's clearly turning me into a crazy person.

Misty Knisely, managing editor, can be reached at 574-732-5155 or via email at Follow her: @PharosMK