Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Looking Regal And Lost

A month has passed since I wrote about Oliver, I am sorry to say I have had no luck trapping him. I'm afraid I have taken a few steps backwards in attempting to gain his trust. He is no longer consistent with coming onto my patio and eating nightly. There are some days I don't see him come into the yard, however, I often see him eating and drinking in the shelter.

I've been trapping for a long time. I have experience with many different types of traps, netting, and different bait to use. I know how to handle strays, ferals and domesticated cats. I know how to tame a feral adult, and a kitten. I know how to gain their trust. It takes time, lots of time, and an extreme amount of patience. It also takes not giving up.

I find myself often in situations like this, that one elusive cat, a difficult case, eventually somehow, someway, I manage to get them in a trap, or gain their trust enough to allow me to pick them up and put them in a carrier. With Oliver, I feel helpless, lost, perhaps because when I sat there taking these pictures, talking to him in a low soft tone, he looked helpless and lost, so very lost.
I document all activity with my feral colony. Each morning for the past several years I make a note in their file, a note that simply says they were here and seen today, and looked healthy. When a new cat shows up, I note the color/markings, gender, and date/time they appeared, just in case he/she becomes a regular visitor and I may need to trap and tnr him/her.

There are also pages in the cats files that are blank, when one of the cats are not seen I don't make any notations. This helps keep track on when a cat went missing. The sad reality of feral colonies, we get no closure. Many times they just disappear. We can feed and care for a cat daily for years, then one day....Poof! They are gone. Your mind goes places you would rather not it go, but you can't help it. You imagine every horrific thing you can, hoping this isn't what happened, but most often you never know. You just mourn for them, miss them, and wonder. But, you carry on, and continue doing what you do, being a responsible feral cat caretaker.
Yesterday morning, we heard the most horrific sound in the distance, we were sure it was the painful screams of a cat. The sound was one of a cat that was in terrible pain, trapped and couldn't get away. I went out in the shelter, lifted the roofs to all the houses, trying to count for all my ferals. After a few hours, all were accounted for, except Oliver. All day, I looked for him, all day I waited. No Oliver. Hoping he would come for dinner last night, no signs of him. As each hour passed, I became overwhelmed with worry. He has been through so much already, I prayed that he would show up unharmed.
This morning, still waiting for any signs of him, my husband calls me from work and asks if I had seen him yet. He expresses his sorrow and concern also, which just adds to all the horrific things I am imagining by now. Finally, here I sit at the computer, and there I see him on my webcam walking into the shelter. He's fine, no harm has been done to him. I can now open his file and write that little note, and today's page will not be blank.