After a lot of tries, they managed to trap her, and she arrived around the beginning of June, having been de-wormed and deflea-ed and having had her vaccination shots. The vets discovered she had already been sterilised so they clipped her ear so that would always be obvious. It was not clear if she was feral or tame or somewhere in between; and she needed to stay in a cage until she had her bearings. Plus, her second lot of jabs was due three weeks’ later, so we decided it might be better for her to stay in one place in the cage, inside, as we might not be able to catch her once she’d gone outside.
She was very frightened, would hide in the back of the cage, which of course we kept covered with a blanket, and when we put a sort of cat cave ‘pod’ thing in there, inside that she stayed. She had a great appetite though and full bowls would become empty so she was clearly emerging! Plus, the litter tray was being used of course.
Once she’d been back to the vet for the second lot of jabs and brought back, we started leaving the cage door open and the sliding door to the outside open as well. She would leave, wouldn’t she? Apparently not.
However, there was progress. She started living outside the cage in a polystyrene cat house and actually started coming out to eat – while I was there in the room. And she let me pet her! But she was still very frightened and would hurriedly return to the polystyrene box.
After a week or so of this routine, cage now removed from the room, I again left the sliding door open to the outside. Finally, she decided to venture out one day, while I was there. Wow, how amazing I thought, but then she wouldn’t come back.
So, I guessed Clara had decided she would prefer to be an outside cat, at least for now, and I have not seen her at all 'in person' since then. For a couple of weeks we left the sliding door open and according to the wildlife camera, she came and went to eat during the night. But she was never there in the morning when I arrived to replace the food. Once the videos showed a fox and a dog started turning up, we had to close the sliding door, and now we put food in an outside storage room which has a cat-sized gap in the door. She comes to eat several times each night, but doesn't stay long.
I have been monitoring the situation via the camera, which she seems so accustomed to (perhaps she likes its red glowing light) that she sat in front of it for hours one night, wearing out the camera batteries as it took video after close-up video of tabby fur!
The only issue seems to be that the two resident feral fatties, Clem Fandango and Huskie, seem to be on to the fact that she comes to eat, and have also been monitoring her. In fact, I’ve been watching them watching her!
I figure as long as she is getting exactly what they are getting to eat, it should not be a problem and hopefully they can become friends. If not, we'll make sure we find somewhere for her a bit away from the house. And I really hope one day she will come along and say hello! Who knows, she might gravitate to being one of the gang, and perhaps even an inside cat eventually - although I think I would describe her as semi-feral. Perhaps she was once a pet, but had some traumatic experiences living as she did which have made her very wary.
I am so glad Clara has the tell-tale clipped ear of a neutered street cat. There is no way I would be able to know she was still around if not, as there are lots of tabbies! Here she is, caught on film.
Finally, I am starting to work on a feral cat population 'explosion' in another village. More on that later, as I will be trying to raise some funds to do some urgent Trap-Neuter-Returning. Watch this space! Saludos