I like country living, but last Saturday I was not so sure. That was when I opened the hall door that gives access through a cat door to my two gold and white cats — Vercingetorix (named for a Gallic chieftain who valiantly fought Julius Caesar ) and Jen (an orphaned cat found in a Chicago parking lot).

Neither cat was there. Both were sunning themselves. But something long and dark with a long tail was. I have been warned about having a cat door. A chocolate-hungry raccoon came through it once, went into the pantry and consumed chocolate bits and two boxes of chocolate pudding. It left chocolatey footprints on the hall rugs when it walked outside again. Another raccoon arrived at Christmastime when a fruitcake soaked in rum was in the pantry. After consuming the fruitcake the animal staggered back out through the cat door. And I have never forgotten the murder of a groundskeeper at Wesleyan College, killed by a small intruder who made his way into the victim’s house through a large dog door.

Still, both my cats and I like having a cat door. But last Saturday, I was not so sure.

The long-tailed creature raced from the back hall into the kitchen. It was bigger than a mouse. I thought it could be a rat (but hoped it wasn’t) or a mole or a vole — both preferable to a rat, of course. I could see its tail protruding from under a kitchen cabinet door. I considered grabbing it by the tail, but decided that was not wise since it might then swing around and bite me.

My cellar stairs are lined with catch’em alive traps, but I can never set them properly. Their balancing mechanism is too much for my clumsy fingers. Since it was a Saturday morning, I thought there might be a leisurely coffee-drinker or two at 7a, adept at trap-setting. It was a sunny day, and I set off on foot to 7a from my home off Music street. Before leaving (carrying two traps and a half-pound of tasty Morning Glory cheddar cheese), I closed the kitchen door to keep the creature inside.

Outside 7a, Matt and Molly Mayhew of Chilmark took pity on me and my plight and set the traps right there. But when they learned I was on foot, they pointed out that the delicately set traps would never make it down Music street still set. They volunteered to drive the traps back to my house and set them there.

At the house they set both traps with precision, aligning them with the pantry wall in a way that looked enticing to me, even though I am not a cheese-eating rodent. Then, wishing me good luck, they set off on a dump run.

They had scarcely left when the long-tailed creature ran across the kitchen floor into the pantry. My pantry has no door. I raced to the living room after the fire screen, and set it in place in front of the pantry to keep the creature inside and near the inviting Morning Glory cheddar cheese-baited traps. Then I went outdoors to see if my cats had any interest in helping me deal with my plight. Clearly, they didn’t. Both were happily snoozing in the sun.

I went back into the kitchen just in time to see my “visitor” race across the counter and fall into the sink. I approached cautiously. Clearly, whatever it was could run and jump faster than I could. But I did get a glimpse of it in the sink. It wasn’t a rat or a mole or a vole. Scampering in slippery circles was a giant chipmunk that wouldn’t have fit into a catch’em alive trap at all. In any case, he wouldn’t have been tempted to try the Morning Glory cheddar since chipmunks like only seeds and nuts.

Now I quite like chipmunks hiding in the crevices in stone walls. And I know of two that have found their way into my house before this one, but they weren’t giant-sized. One bibliophilic critter spent a day in a bookcase; another practiced gymnastics on my front door screen. Both of those were exorcised by solicitous neighbors. I knew I had to work fast before this chipmunk escaped from the sink. I put in a call to neighbor Joe Keenan, hoping he could help out, but he was busy baking and twisting pretzels at the Back Porch Larder.

Joe advised me to “Cover it with a plastic container.”

I knew that wouldn’t work because I’d have to slide something under the container to keep the chipmunk in.

“If that won’t work, pick it up with a big towel,” Joe advised as I frantically sought better help. Sure enough, with a beach towel in hand I grabbed the giant chipmunk (at least six inches long, not a cute little chipmunk at all) before it could escape from the slippery sink, and walked him out the back door.

I’m sure it was an even more memorable Saturday morning for the chipmunk than for me. Last seen, he was scampering to my neighbor Anne Burt’s stone wall, ready to recount his perilous adventure to his fellow chipmunks. As for me, I am not so sure anymore about the joys of country living.

Now that I think about it, didn’t Trip Barnes say recently that it was he who had imported the first chipmunks to Martha’s Vineyard?