The New Year…

by grace on February 18, 2022

…has had so much cat activity. In addition to now having five inside cats plus two outside , we are endeavoring to catch one of Wanda’s two outside cats, Harley.

Harley and his brother Pumpkin came to Wanda’s when they were tiny kittens. Their mom carried them over, as I believe the story goes. When I’d been at Wanda’s, Pumpkin was always super affectionate and loving but Harley was skittish and we couldn’t get too close to him.

After Wanda died on December 17th, there was the issue of what to do with these two abandoned kitties. Wanda’s friend found a terrific woman named Nancy who lives out in the country and harbors many, many cats, both domesticated and feral. She’s a terrific cat rescuer, doing things like regularly feeding a colony of feral cats living in a trailer park.

It was easy for them to pick up Pumpkin and take him to live at Nancy’s. I’m not sure exactly when this happened, but I guess it was not long after Wanda passed away.

Wanda’s son, Sam, was staying at Wanda’s for a while and Harley warmed up to Sam and let him pet him. But then Sam tried to pick up Harley to take him away and Harley’s reaction was WHAT THE F**K!!! He sprinted away from Sam and wouldn’t come near him anymore.

So for about two months the bonded brothers have been separated and it’s so incredibly heartbreaking. I know that other cats have it worse, but to know their story makes it sad.

Nancy set a trap for Harley but he was way too cunning to fall for that kind of shenanigan. Nancy then covered the trap with a blanket but Harley scoffed at the ruse.

Kevin and I finally got involved in January; Wanda had a big, insulated cat hutch on her back deck that the cats enjoyed when it was cold out, and Kevin’s idea was to install a door on the front of the hutch, a door that would swing open and shut but could be locked once Harley got used to going in and out.

Upon examination, however, we realized that because the hutch was rounded there was no way to mount a door. So I bought a bright red storage tub and kevin cut a hole in it and mounted the door. We decided to keep the door propped open for a while, hoping that Harley would get used to it, then would go in when the door was closed, and finally we could lock him in.

We had to know if we’d trapped him, though, so Kevin bought a motion-detecting camera and installed it inside the new kitty house.

Setting up the camera was a huge, huge pain; we tried connecting it at home and had many wi-fie issues and all the stuff you’d imagine could happen with technology. We finally got it working here, though, and then took it to Wanda’s. Once again it was a big rigamarole trying to get it to work, but finally we had success, yay!

Here is our first photo on January 16th. the house was inviting, with a soft cushion covered with a heated pad. A friend said it looked like Jeannie’s bottle from “I dream of Jeannie.”

The only problem? That’s not Harley! It’s some other giant neighborhood cat who was delighted to find the warm digs with a meal inside. Oh well, at least the setup and the camera worked.

On January 19th, this guy showed up. Possums also enjoy a meal inside. As you can see by the time stamp, this was 1:39 a.m.

The next night the grey kitty curled up inside the house. He looks so very cozy, although he didn’t actually stay that long.

But then, January 24th, ta da! Harley himself appeared. At night the camera is black and white but we could tell it was Harley. At this point Kevin had re-mounted the camera to the outside of the house because we weren’t getting consistent alerts when it was inside.

The next day we were alerted when Nancy stopped by to replenish the food bowl.

And an hour later, Harley showed up. I feel that many times he’s lurking nearby, waiting for the food.

Here’s me on January 28th. I’m wearing these great shoes that Kevin bought me for Christmas. They’re too big but they’re very warm and keep my feet dry and I love them because I can just slip them on. The too-bigness hasn’t bugged me.

…and an hour later, Harley showed up!

They next day it was the giant grey kitty.

When Harley appeared an hour later the food was probably gone.

That’s the photos from January, but the saga continues. We tried closing the flap but that was a massive fail; nobody pushed open the door. We’ll keep the door open for a while and try again.

Meanwhile…After getting a foot of snow a couple of weeks ago, it rained a lot two nights ago then that turned to freezing rain yesterday morning and a significant layer of ice formed on the ground before it snowed and snowed and snowed some more and now there’s about four inches. The funny thing is that on Wednesday it had gotten so warm that the snow was almost gone and I went running. No more of that for a while.

Ok Then,

Mrs. Fullly Cat-Crazy plus this winter needs to end soon Hughes.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Phyllis Smith February 18, 2022 at 11:49 am

I’m Wanda’s sister, she would appreciate all you are doing. Thank you so much!

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grace February 19, 2022 at 5:28 pm

Hi Phyllis, thanks for that, we just hope we’re able to catch him eventually!

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melanie vasconcelles February 18, 2022 at 12:04 pm

I had a cat a very pretty cat show up on my porch about a month ago it was starving scared by my 2 dogs but she had picked me so I found her food and kept it warm on this freezing day so she could eat warm food instead of ice. She is living under my porch I have no idea how good it is down there but she is looking so much better she has learned that when i call kitty kitty I have put her food out for her and she comes to eat right away. Yes I have bought her dry and canned food she is very scared of my jack russell the chihuahua doesnt scare her so much but when the weather gets better I will spend more time on the porch hope she gets friendlier. I would pay for her shots fixing, flea meds, but i will need help catching her. I will try making her a bed out of a plastic container Thanks for that great idea but I do need help putting in place. I called the feline ranch left a message but have got no answer back. So for boring you with all this bottom line any good hints you can give me.

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grace February 19, 2022 at 5:37 pm

hi Melanie! thanks for feeding the poor kitty; do you have any kind of blanket or anything on the ground for her? that would be a good start. Maybe you could put the blanket in a box. I’m afraid you wouldn’t be able to construct something like we have, unless you have all kinds of skills with tools – my husband Kevin mounted the door on the tub. One other important thing is a heated water bowl – they have them at Wal Mart, Farm & home, Big R, all kinds of places. That way she won’t dehydrate and die, even when it gets so cold outside. They also have heated pads, which would help her to stay warmer.

Also, the APL will spay/neuter a feral cat and give it the necessary shots for free. I think the cost isn’t much if you decided you want to keep her inside. If you call the APL, I think they’ll even loan you a trap if you aren’t able to catch her yourself. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

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