still can't believe our Shardik is home. Yesterday I went home at
lunch just to see him again.
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.
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
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.
having the video camera allowed us to monitor our success. Without
it we may have never realized that he was not interested in tuna.
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.
again for everything.