Wednesday September 29, 2010 –2:45 p.m. – So here’s the Mugsy low down. The stubborn Tortie has not been captured on camera since she gorged herself on a pile of cat food inside the wired-open trap on Weds Sept 15th. That was two weeks ago. Fourteen very long days. Long enough that the family members and their volunteers who are checking the trap (twice a day) are getting very frustrated, very discouraged, and very worn down by the process.
Fourteen days without food is really not all that long. I mentioned this before–one cat hiding in a ceiling refused to enter the trap for 22 days and a cat named Ginger hid inside a wall for 17 days before she meowed. I once found a 14-year-old cat named Manuel who was trapped under a house without food or water for 5 weeks–and he lived at least another 4 years after that. And then there is the story of Bess, a BainBridge Island Tortie who was trapped for 8 weeks inside of a window bench without food or water and yet she survived (although she’s apparently blind now). But food might not even be an issue with Mugsy. As it turns out, she is a proven hunter who has a history of killing mice. So it’s possible that she has not entered the trap again because she is not hungry enough. We just don’t know.
So I spent time on the phone today with the family throwing out new ideas on things they could try. However, they didn’t seem receptive. If I were to share the details, I would end up dissing them publicly and I just don’t want to do that. Suffice to say the family deeply loves Mugsy. They are desperate and they feel that they should be doing more to try and capture her than just patiently waiting for her to go into a baited trap.
Actually, I’m not surprised. The resistance I’ve encountered on this case is actually a pattern of behavior that I’ve seen before. What a pet owner thinks and believes ultimately influences how they behave (and what action they will or won’t take) to recover their lost pet. I feel so strongly about this topic that I’ve put my teen pet detective mystery book project on hold in favor of working on a nonfiction book about lost pet behaviors. In my research (for my new book) I found a great book called “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer. At one point (p. 204) the author states: “Unfortunately, the mind often surrenders to the temptation of shoddy top-down thinking. Just look at politics. Voters with strong partisan affiliations are a case study in how not to form opinions: their brains are stubborn and impermeable, since they already know what they believe. No amount of persuasion or new information is going to change the outcome of their mental debates.”
It sounds like Mugsy’s family plans to continue their efforts to humanely trap, at least until this weekend (it will be sunny, thank God). After that, I’m not sure what will happen. I can’t force them to listen to me or to take my suggestions. And as a former police officer who was used to having CONTROL over my investigations, learning to let go with this situation has not been easy! Thankfully, I found a very cool version of the Serentiy Prayer that I think we could all hear right about now and it goes like this:
Believe it or not, I still have HOPE that Mugsy will enter that trap. I hope that I am not alone!