It's time for an update on all the cats living at the colony! I've had the camera out for about five days and from that and information from neighbors, I have put together a little census of the colony. As of now, there are 18-20 cats I'm concerning myself with. A few do not spend much time with the colony but they have been brought to my attention by other neighbors so I am including them in my project. There are currently nine that need to be trapped. I will move to a new spot once this location is finished to try and catch the remaining on this list.
Let's start with some old favorites!
Pinecone, Fern, and Clover
Pinecone, Fern, and Clover in 2017
I'm happy to report the three amigos are alive and well! If you have followed this project from the beginning, you will remember Clover, Fern, and Pinecone were just kittens last year and they were the first cats I was able to trap. These three were fixtures at the colony, always quick to arrive when I came to feed them. I have to admit, I've got a big soft spot for them. They still live at the colony and are still as cute and funny as ever! Fern and Clover spend a lot of time together and with the other cats. Pinecone shows up every day on my camera but doesn't spend a lot of time on shenanigans like the other two. They look great: healthy and well fed!
The next of my 2017 captures is Honeysuckle. He is a gorgeous cream lynx-point, and might be remembered for being one of the oldest I was able to trap. He had a gash on his forehead TCAP treated. Today, he hangs out a lot with Fern and Clover and is one of the most visible cats on my camera. Again, he seems to be doing great, often seen displaying affection to the other colony members. Before he was fixed, he was prone to aggression with the others, but now I think he's a huge softy. And quite a looker too! His markings have got much darker in the last year.
Sunflower is probably the most memorable cat from the colony. She had five little kittens on March 8, 2017, mere hours after I trapped her. A dear friend of mine was able to help me foster them and then we adopted them out. They will be the subject of an upcoming blog to celebrate their first birthdays!
Today Sunflower looks amazing! She's a little chubby and looks so healthy. She shows up every day on the camera and I'm always so happy to see her. She only comes by for a short time so I don't have a lot of good pictures to post. I have some great videos though, so check out my facebook.
The remaining cats that I trapped last year have not turned up on the camera yet. I know one, my pretty lady Hickory, was hit by a car last summer.
I'm still on the lookout for signs of Ivy (left), Walnut (right), and Ash (bottom). They are all male black cats, but fortunately this year identifying the black ones is much easier as these three will have their ears tipped. The black cats did tend to live in a slightly different part of Dove Pond so I'm still hoping once I get going these three might turn up.
The last two that were identified last year and are now fixed have the happiest stories of all! They now have families!!!
Sisi lives in a slightly different area but I was able to trap her last year. The family that had been feeding her were very invested in her care, so they even looked after her while she recovered from her surgery. She wasn't very friendly, but with their sweet and patient devotion she now gets to live an indoor/outdoor life as their pet! She does her own thing, but she is happy and lucky to have a warm and dry home with lots of food and lots of love for her.
At TCAP in 2017
In her new home in 2018
The story of Oscar is a weird but happy one. He lived with the feral colony in 2017, but this winter turned up at my front door, about three blocks away from Dove Pond. He slowly became very friendly and talkative to the point where he was practically demanding to come inside. He was SO SWEET. I cannot overemphasize how sweet and cuddly he became. My own cats did not like this so I was able to send him to friend to foster and then to Operation Kindness. It only took two weeks before a single man came in looking for a cuddle kitty and took him home. The adoption counselor told me it was love at first sight for both of them.
Now for the cats I was not able to trap last year.
He is a wily one. He's a big, Maine coon looking cat. He was clearly injured last year, but he seems pretty healthy this year. I've only seem him on the camera once in 2018, but I know from neighbor's stories that he gets around a pretty big area. If I don't get him at Dove Pond, I know another place I can try. He is VERY smart about traps though. I might break out a drop trap if I can't get him. I really want to get him. I know he terrorizes some other smaller ferals, and we have a lot of kittens that look like Maine coons. I spent over 3 straight hours of my life last year watching him examine my traps to just walk away, so this one is personal.
Picture is from 2017, I don't have a good enough one yet this year. He looks the same.
Elm is an unusual one. I rarely saw him last year at all, but this year he is around all the time! He seems quite friendly with the usual gang so maybe I'll have a chance this year. He's all black, but pretty unique looking. He has a big monster head, a kind of scruffy looking body and a big scar over his left eye. I would not want to meet him alone at night if I were a wild animal.
I have not seen Willow at all this year, but I didn't see him much last year either. Like Juniper, he seems to have a wide range. I've seen pictures of him a couple of miles away. I don't have a lot of hope of trapping him, but we'll see if he turns up. He looks a bit like Sunflower, but he's much bigger.
Zinnia is another one with a weird story. I ignored her for the longest time thinking she belonged to a neighbor, but now I know she's just a look-alike! So finally she has her own identity as Zinnia. She is a bit tamer than the others (although still not very tame), so I have high hopes for trapping her. She's around all the time.
I think I met Peanut last year when she was just a kitten. She is absolutely precious now and is high on my priority list for trapping. She hangs around with Fern, Clover, Honeysuckle, and Zinnia so I think I'll be able to get her. She seems like the sweetest thing ever, and is constantly rubbing and cleaning her friends. I don't know how sweet she'll be to humans, but it's wonderful to watch. Again, check out my facebook for videos. She looks a lot like Oscar, but is quite small.
The remaining cats are new to me in 2018. There is not a lot I know about them, and to be honest I don't even know if they are all separate cats. For a few days I thought I only had one tabby and now I think there are four...
The most dubious is Bluebell. She may not exist. By that I mean she might be another already identified cat. But here's a picture anyway.
If Bluebell were not her own cat, it's most likely she would be Lavender.
Lavender is a light grey tabby with four white paws and a white breast. It took me a long time to realize she wasn't Zinnia. She only turns up at night on my camera, but she comes regularly. I don't think she's the same cat as Bluebell because Lavender's white paws are very clearly defined, but I really don't know.
My other new tabby is Oak. He is pretty impressive looking, and definitely male. His tabby markings are more subtle than the others and he's a lighter color. He also has a massive head and walks in a weird way, like he's too close to the ground.
This is the last one! And he might not exist either. Aster is all black, and looks a lot like Elm. But he doesn't seem to have the scar on his face, and his tail looks broken or permanently kinked. It could also be a trick of the camera though because otherwise he looks just like Elm. I won't know until I get a closer look, but I've given him his own identity just in case.
That's them! Thanks for sticking with me, there's more than there were last year! My main trapping priorities are Zinnia, Peanut, Elm, Oak, and Lavender. Then Juniper.
Then Willow, if he's still around, and Bluebell and Aster, if they exist.
I'm pretty happy with the state of the colony today. I was so relieved to see all my old friends looking so healthy and content. They are so lucky to live here because the neighbors take such good care of them and it's probably as safe a spot as you can get in Grapevine.
If you'd like to help me, I have a Go Fund Me to cover expenses. All the details are here. Also get in touch if you're looking to get rid of any live traps, blankets, towels, cat food and litter, animal beds, or kennels. Thanks!!!