One of the interesting things I’ve been able to learn through my wildlife cameras is that even though these ferals all technically belong to the same colony and will breed and mix with each other, there are actually a number of sub-groups within in the colony. I’m calling them North (N), Southeast (SE), Southwest (SW), RB and TL. I also have a few floater cats that I can’t quite pin down. The ferals spend most of their time in these groups at their specific locations. Last year I spent a lot of time on the south side (SE and SW), and this year I’ve been focusing on the North. I’m happy to say that with Lavender taken care of I have now TNR-ed all of the North side kitties! I have now returned to SW and SE to pick up some stragglers, and then I’ll move on to RB and TL.
Each of these subgroups has a different person feeding them. This wasn’t planned or anything, but five individuals took it upon themselves to look after the cats they were seeing around. I think this is probably how the separate groups formed. If there was only one feeding location, they would all have to cross paths every day. As it is, they each have their own feeding station and some do not venture to any others. Quite a few hop around (these are very well fed kitties!), but it is helpful to know where they primarily spend their time because I have only ever had luck trapping cats in their special own territory where they feel most comfortable. This was a bit of a surprise to figure out because most these groups are literally next door and across the street from each other. It seems a bit crazy that I couldn’t trap a cat one yard over from where it hangs out, but that does seem to be the case with some of them. If you're interested in more pictures and videos of the inner workings of the colony, I've started a new facebook page: Feral Kitty City.
So today I went looking for Elm (again), the big black male with a broken tail, on the south side. He is a bit of a floater, and does spend quite a bit of time in N, but I’m pretty sure he’s a SW kitty. I set myself up right where SE and SW meet. I cracked open a can of sardines and suddenly there was this little grey face looking over the top of a fence at me! I didn’t know this cat!
To my knowledge, she’s never ventured over to the North side and I believe she’s less than a year old so I didn’t see her last year. This is why moving around is a good idea! I checked my camera and I found another cat in SE that I had not previously identified. I’m calling him Spruce because of this picture. He just looks like a goofy Spruce.