My name is Elad, 31, from Israel, and I'm also a first year MBA student here at Haas. I moved to Berkeley with my wife and our two cats and dog (actually my wife and the dog will join me and the cats next month). I already started capturing the experience on my blog - West Coast Story - and I am excited to share some of the posts here from time to time. Here's the latest one.

Around 5am last night, deep into my (short and unsatisfactory) sleep, I started hearing noises coming from the area of the cats door - which is installed on one of our walls that heads to the porch. As our cats are new to Berkeley they are not going out yet. Still, they are extremely interested in opening that door and take any opportunity to try and do so. Naturally, I assumed they are simply trying to open it again.

I woke up all dizzy and went there to make them stop so I can go back to sleep. To my surprise, both cats were sitting in front of the cats door, giving it their "hunt look", all charged and ready for action. I was even more surprised to hear the noises continue even though the cats were not causing them.

At this point I became a little scared. I was pretty sure there's a thief trying to break into the house (well, not a very talented one considering the level of noise he was producing. Coming to think of it now, he had to be a really tiny thief if he tried to break in through the cats door). I turned on the light on the porch and looked out. I was amazed to see a beautiful animal staring right back at me - a raccoon! A real raccoon at my porch! Here's one thing that would not have happened to me in Israel...

We stood there for about 20 seconds, just staring at each other, not sure what to do next. After recovering from the shock I ran for my camera, but when I came back he was already gone. My landlord explained to me that the raccoons learned how to open the cats door and were using it occasionally in the past to sneak into the house and steal some of the the cat food. Quite impressive, isn't it?

—Elad Ganot

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