Friday, January 24, 2020

Nymeria No-Appearia

Well. So much for my feral barn cat.

Around the time of my post about her, she somehow escaped the barn. I'd been keeping it closed up as best I could, but she managed to slip out at some point.

I put food out for her for days following her disappearance and left the barn door cracked. Curiously, the dry food would be eaten, but the wet food remained untouched. She'd been gobbling the wet food down in short order in the weeks before she disappeared! Additionally, I saw no tracks in the snow around the barn other than some birds and mice.

When the weather became inclement, I moved the dry food inside inside the cracked door, hoping that she'd be encouraged to shelter in there. (I'd given up on wet food at this point.) I even went to the effort of carefully raking some snow around the area where the bowl was so I could see tracks of whatever was eating it. Still no cat tracks, only a few passing mouse tracks, which were admittedly hard to see due to their size, the lack of weight to create the track, and the type of snow.

After a week and a half of trying to discover if Nymeria was still in the area, I borrowed a trail cam from a friend to at least find out what was eating the dry cat food each night. (Yes, only at night despite it being out all day!)

Adding food to the bowl to bait the mystery creature.
I knew the camera was snapping away, so I couldn't resist being a goon
Do you see the culprit?
Because I was honestly a bit shocked.
Of-fucking-course it was MICE eating the cat food!
The very thing I got a cat to help prevent...
Damn mice!
I hate them so much.

Needless to say, I quit filling that bowl with food following the discovery that MICE were eating it! UGH.

I'm really not sure what more I could have done to encourage Nymera to stick around. Almost one month in the tack room exclusively with all the warmth and comfort and food and water she could want followed by around two weeks in the tack room/barn with food/water before she up and left. Oh well. At least she's spayed? I guess I'll try again with a domestic cat instead of a feral cat next time...

28 comments:

  1. Sorry she vanished. Feral cats are hard to keep around if they want to live elsewhere. Yup did all you could. Maybe she went back to her old stomping grounds.

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    1. I've wondered ther same thing. She'd have one hell of a journey!

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  2. It is possible that she was eaten by a predator (coyote, bobcat etc). It’s not easy to keep a car in the country. But you tried. I wonder about getting a couple kittens from a feral litter? I’ve been thinking about doing that since my current cat has decided she’ll stay indoors. She was going out and one night was out until after 10 (we try to bring cats in by supper because of predators). After that she refused to go out so I think something happened and gave her a scare.

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    1. It's absolutely possible! I've wondered myself. She seemed pretty wiley, but I dunno if she'd stand up to our yotes...

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  3. I'm so sorry she didn't hang around. That really sucks. I still stand behind importing some good rat snakes.

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    1. But they wouldn't be any good to me in the winter! I do like the idea though...I love snakes.

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  4. You couldn't have done more than you did. I'm so sorry she ran off. Unfortunately cats uhhh dgaf. Ditty Teresa's suggestion about feral kittens. They'll learn the barn is their 'home base' and probably be less likely to wander off.

    Also, there are cats that are tame but can't really live in a house very easily (due to incontinence issues). I fostered one like this, and I think they'd make good barn cats because they want to be 'home' and around with you and it's hard to find homes for them because they struggle making it to the litter box in a bigger house but no one cares if they crap in a stall.

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    1. Oh! Yeah that's a great idea. I'm hoping some local-ish barn kittens will come available.

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  5. I want a new trail cam that one looks good what brand? Our busted after less than 3 months. UGH

    i can't believe it caught the mice moving. that is a good cam!

    Those ballsy mice :) HA HA HA omg laughing.

    Sorry kitty ran off but she could return one days it happens.

    I can't have a cat outdoors due to the coyotes and bobcats and whatever shit we have here. UGH

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    1. It's by StealthCam I think? He uses them for hunting. Had them for years, too. Take 8 AA batteries and an SD card.

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  6. I did not get feral cats for our barn for just this reason (really wanted to though). Ours all came from the shelter but had outdoor experience. They show up for food twice a day and can usually be found sleeping in the tackroom at night - which is ideal, because we also have coyotes.

    Hopefully you'll be able to find kitties that stick around - and soon, because the mice are definitely living the good life! Heehee!

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    1. OMG, they're living the best life. Little bastards...

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  7. Arg. Feral cats are tough... I've had a few friends try out the whole 'feral barn cat' thing and several of them had good success while others had the exact same results as you. Glad you were able to find the culprit and hopefully you can get a barn kitty that sticks around!

    FWIW, I have a domesticated barn cat where I board and the little asshole is the WORST. He not only doesn't kill any mice, he sprays on random things (thankfully not my riding gear, but things like old tarps that I use to cover hay). The BO feeds him quite a bit so he has no drive to hunt. He is neutered and no other cats come around, so he's just a free-loading jerk.

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    1. Ugh. I've got a pretty firm 'no male cats' stance just for that reason!! Hoping another local barn will have kittens soon (why their cats aren't fixed I'll never know...)

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  8. I have four worthless cats. They don't hunt, except for one cat who caught a turtle that was the size of a quarter. But I have stray cats that come around for handouts and they seem to keep the mouse population at bay. The best cats I ever had were ones that were born on my place. I adopted pregnant semi-feral cats. The mothers teach the kittens to hunt.

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  9. Ugh sorry Nymeria up and left - feral cats worked for us only because they were born in our barn, so they naturally wanted to stay after I racoon cage caught them and got them fixed. Our first barn cat was a kitty blood donor (Lenny was the best kitty) and he never strayed very far and really enjoyed being a barn cat.

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    1. Aww, Lenny sounds amazing. Hopefully I can stumble upon one like that.

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  10. Sorry Nymeria is gone, she was such a pretty thing. We have a once-housecat turned barn cat, but she is pretty but useless, the jack russels get the rats around here! I bet kittens or a good barn cat will be in your future.

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    1. Fingers crossed for a good one! Though a jack russel would be more fun lol

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  11. I've always had better luck transitioning a pair or trio then adding one here and there. Feral cats usually live in colonies. Also four eyes are better than two when watching for predators. I've fostered several feral mommas, some how the mommas (after they get spayed) keep joining my colony.

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    1. Good point about safety in numbers! I am leaning pretty hard toward getting two.

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  12. What a bummer. I know lots of barn cats migrate, or are eaten :( but it's still sad. I spend much of my time getting barn cats spayed and neutered for people and I tell them to do exactly what you did, and usually that is successful! So, I'm sorry she was in the minority. BUT I too am glad she was spayed before she became wild again... Do you think you'll get another cat? Honestly, I think the neutered males are sometimes better at sticking around....

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    1. I'm definitely getting another. Maybe two to help them encourage to stay around?!

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  13. Aww, sorry she left. There are always adopted feral cats at my coach's barn and honestly it seems like maybe only half of them stay long term, despite it being a pretty good gig!

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    1. I'm grateful to hear I'm not in the minority on this! I'm also wondering if I'll end up learning that Nymeria trucked it back to where she came from - quite a hike!

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  14. Maybe you could get one of those spinny mouse trap things and put cat food in it and just trap them all. Though, if you're like me then you aren't sure what to do with them. I've caught a few in 5 gallon buckets and then I feel bad killing them once I see them.

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    1. Ugh. Yeah. I have serious guilt having to kill them if they're still alive when I find them. A trap that does the work for me is what I need. My secretary may have a lead on a new cat though - so fingers crossed!!

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