Kitty Updates 1

August 05 2020

After letting Shimmer explore the house and mix a little with the other cats, I decided that it was time to let her outside. I left the cat doors open and let her find them on her own. After a while she went outside and explored the main deck and then came back inside. A short time later she went out and then she was gone. I figured she’d spent a while enjoying her freedom. Surprisingly, a few hours later she was back inside and in my lap. Now she goes out a few times at night and spends the day sleeping inside. So I guess she’s officially one of mine now.

Now that Shimmer’s room is available, I’ve set my sights on catching Sophia, the kitten’s mother. I have a “Have a Heart’ live trap, but I wanted to make sure that I trapped the right cat. I modified the trap by adding an actuator that is normally used to lock and unlock a car door. Using a 12 volt drill battery to power that and an AC relay to control the battery and a ‘smart plug’ to control the relay, I can now trip the trap by simply saying “Hey Google Trap Shut”. Or I can trip it with an app on my smartphone. So now I can sit in the house watching the security camera showing the barn stall where the cats eat and where the trap is, and if I see the mamma cat go in the trap to get the extra special food in there, I can trip the trap. Two or three other cats, that I hope to catch later, have been in the trap, but so far mamma hasn’t gone in.

August 21 2020

Besides the everyday taking care of all my kitties, I have 6 vet visits scheduled in the next 7 days so I’ve been very busy. I had my modified trap set out in the cat barn but the mamma cat hasn’t shown any inclination to go in. A few of the other cats were eating the food in the trap, one being Buffy who I wanted to catch later. I decided to take what I could get so I trapped Buffy and brought him inside. His is one of the scheduled vet visits. He’s a sweetheart and absolutely craves attention. I think he was pretty traumatized when his owners left him behind. I used the trap again to catch Mingo for his vet visit yesterday. He’s a wild boy who spends all his time outside and would have been very hard to catch otherwise. The little kittens are doing well and Sassy had her second vet visit yesterday. She was not happy about going but settled down pretty quickly when she got home.

Three new cats showed up at the cat barn but it turns out that one of them belongs to the neighbors to the north. The other two I don’t know about. All of the barn cats are eating well.

To catch the mamma cat, Sophia, and her daughter, Tabitha, I decided to add sliding doors to the main cathouse in the barn where I put most of the food. They go in there every night to eat. I’ll add door-lock actuators to each door so I can shut the doors remotely. The only problem is that having already brought Buffy inside, I’m running out of rooms to keep them in until I can get them fixed.

Buffy went to the vet for the first time today for his initial checkup and shots. He goes back in 4 weeks for his booster shots and to get fixed. Then he can finally get out of his room and go outside again.

August 25 2020

Ok, so when last I posted, Buffy was still in his room in the basement and I was going to modify the big cat house in the barn with sliding doors on each end that could be closed remotely.

Buffy has decided he wanted to be in the bigger room in the basement where he can hang out with his sister Shimmer. That left his old room empty and that’s the best room to put Sophia, the mamma kitty and hopefully her grown daughter Tabitha.

Just a reminder of who the players are in this drama. Last October the neighbors to the northwest took off, abandoning their house with the Dad going one way and the Mom the other. One or the other took the kids, the dogs, and the goats, but left the mamma cat, Sophia, with 3 kittens, the kittens were Gruffy, Tabitha and Nugget. I caught and adopted Nugget, Tabitha stayed with the mamma, and Gruffy disappeared sometime last winter.

In the last couple of months, the mamma brought 3 kittens to the barn. They’re now in another room in the basement waiting to get their final shots and ID implants. When they’re old enough they’ll get fixed.

August 28 2020

So now we’re up to date. I did modify the cat house with sliding doors and also added a new security camera with zoom lens so I could keep an eye on where Sophia and Tabitha live at the northwest neighbor house. I was concentrating on catching Sophia before she could get pregnant again and then figure out how to determine whether or not Tabitha had kittens already. On closer examination of the security videos, it was clear that Tabitha was very pregnant. So catching her before she had her kittens became top priority.

With everything in place and watching multiple security camera feeds I was ready to catch her. Around midnight she very cautiously approached the barn, taking at least 20 minutes to finally go inside. Just as she was about to jump up to the cat house, Little Sweety sneaked into the barn and attacked her. They didn’t actually get into a full cat fight but after Little Sweety left, Tabitha was so frightened the she took off. I went out and grabbed Little Sweety, brought her inside, and shut her up in the spare bedroom where she’ll stay until I get this all done. Anyway, I stayed up until after 4am watching the security cameras but Tabitha didn’t come back.

Last night with everything set up again, and Little Sweety still inside, I was prepared to wait all night if need be to catch Tabitha. Luckily, just before 1am, I spotted her entering the barn. Shortly after that she went into the cat house to eat and after she got a good tummy full, I hit the button to close the doors. After that it was just a matter of transferring her to a carrier and bringing her into the house.

She doesn’t act totally freaked out and is eating well. So that’s a job well done. Now I just need to nab the original mamma, Sophia. Maybe tonight.

Aug 29 2020

My first thought was “Well color me stupid”.
I was checking the security videos to see if Sophia had visited the barn earlier today and there was Tabitha eating in the barn. The only problem with that is that Tabitha is in my basement ready to have kittens at any minute. When I pulled up pictures of both cats, I could see that the pregnant kitty in the basement was a new one. They’re both long haired grey tabbies, but there are differences in the faces. Though I’m disappointed that I didn’t catch Tabitha, I’m happy that the new one will have her kittens in a safe place. Now I have to come up with a name for her. I’ll call the local animal shelter to see if someone has reported her missing.

Update Aug 30 12pm

New Mamma is having her kittens right now !

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