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Shardik & Suzie, the Super Surveillance Sleuth
October 11 - November 5, 2003 — missing 25 days.
After escaping from his apartment and showing himself only very briefly, Complete Cover Shardik is not seen for days. But because of Suzie and her husband's superb video surveillance, they discover that not only does Shardik visit their patio to eat but often returns several times — 4-5 times one night!

Shardik. . . what beautiful markings!

No one has ever given such a detailed description of a cat's behavior "on the lam" as Suzie and her husband have done in sleuthing for their dear Shardik. Not only does their videotape surveillance positively ID their cat, they got the time of visits, the number of visits — and what food he preferred as bait! Suzie and her husband get 2 thumbs up for this production!


I still can't believe our Shardik is home. Yesterday I went home at lunch just to see him again.

Shardik was finally captured Tuesday night in a box trap. We had been trapping since the first week he escaped. We had captured a total of 2 skunks and 5 different cats! Our traps were always baited with Shardik's favorite treat — tuna. Once we knew that Shardik was visiting our patio, we placed a trap there as well. We also left out dry cat food and tuna in bowls. We wanted to make sure Shardik visited our patio on a regular basis. We set up a video camera which was hooked up to a VCR (so we could tape for 8 hours). The first night Shardik came at 4 am, but the next night he came at 2, 3:30, and 5 o'clock. Also on the second night we moved the trap closer to the food so that it was in the field of view of the camera and we could judge his reaction to it. He ignored it completely. But interestingly, he also ignored the tuna outside of the trap. He was only interested in his crunchy food. This seemed very odd given Shardik's love of tuna. But I believe it may be possible that Shardik developed an negative association with tuna after we cornered him under the concrete by the main door to our building during the previous week. So, we removed the tuna. The third night, we pinned open the trap and placed the crunchy food by the front door of the trap. Shardik went to the food without hesitation and visited the bowl 3 times during the night. So far so good. The next night we placed the bowl half way back in the trap. Shardik refused to enter the trap the first time he visited, but entered hesitantly the 2nd time. Later during that night (he visited 4 or 5 times), he seemed very comfortable going inside the trap to eat.

At this point I wanted to continue to ease him into the trap. But the weather was supposed to turn very cold by the end of the week. So we decided to put the food all the way back and set the trap. I felt confident that Shardik would go in the trap, but I knew from the video tapes that other cats and raccoons also visited the food at night. If we were going to catch Shardik I knew that I had to keep all of the other animals out of HIS trap. So Tuesday night I stayed up and waited. I turned out all the lights, and set everything else up as usual.

Shardik first came by at 11 pm. He circled the trap and left. He came again at 1:30, showed some interest in entering the trap but then something frightened him away. Immediately afterwards another cat came up and I tapped on the sliding glass door and it ran away. Five minutes later Shardik came back and slowly walked in the trap. We had put a few crunchies leading toward the back and he ate them as he entered. He went all the way back to the trip plate, stood there for what seemed to me like forever, and backed out and left! My heart sank. But I knew he'd come back. During the next 2 hours I had to continually frighten away another cat (he was quite persistent).

Somewhere around 3:30 I began to get very tired (and a little discouraged). I closed my eyes just for a couple of minutes and then I heard it — the trap shut. My first thought was that the other cat had came back and I had to get him out fast before Shardik came back. I ran out, looked in the trap, and couldn't believe my eyes! It was Shardik!

Later in the day my husband watched the video tape. He said that the last time Shardik came, he circled the trap and went straight in without hesitation. I think "pre-baiting" the trap was very important in our success. Although we didn't do it for long, it allowed him to become more comfortable with the trap.

Also, having the video camera allowed us to monitor our success. Without it we may have never realized that he was not interested in tuna.

Anyway, that's our story and Shardik is home. He has lost a lot of weight. He also seems tired..he sleeps a lot. Although he has more energy today than yesterday. We are taking him to the vet on Saturday.

Thanks again for everything.



Read Suzie's very clear and detailed instructions on how to videotape here.
Read Shardik's full story here.

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