Friday September 3, 2010 – 12:15 a.m. – Still no Mugsy. I’m up here at Snoqualmie Pass and I was disheartened by the area that Mugsy is in. The terrain is steep, thick with vegetation, and it is much larger of an area than where she was originally hiding in before she bolted. I am trying to remain optimistic.
So here’s how the search effort went. We staged off Exit 53 on a side road. There were eleven of us and here’s what we did. We set up two different stations with humane traps along with whiny cats who meowed when crated. We butted them up to a humane trap, covered it with a tarp, put some smelly cat food out in front of the trap, put a baby monitor there, and positioned two volunteers (with radios, cell phones, and a pair of binoculars) nearby who sat and listened and watched their bait cat. With the other traps and one crate (with Mugsy’s own scent) we set up wildlife cameras with fresh easy food. We sat. We waited. Nothing happened. By 11:00 p.m., we pulled the bait cats and replaced them with more wildlife cameras. We will know more tomorrow when we look at the pictures.
During this operation, a woman drove up and told us she thought she saw Mugsy. A quarter of a mile down the road she saw a calico cat that looked like Mugsy (except she said it had short hair) dart across the street. First of all, in order for Mugsy to get to that location she would’ve had to break cover from the heavy brush and that just does NOT make sense. While it is possible, it is just not as probable as the theory that she is still within the area she was last seen. We did have two volunteers search that sighting area and put up posters. We will likely do more search work there tomorrow, but I’m hopeful that we catch a picture of her, narrow down our search area, and work on trapping her. I have a drop trap that I borrowed from a Seattle Animal Shelter volunteer so we may use that if we capture her on camera. The camera results will dictate our strategy for tomorrow (Friday) night.
Today I learned two facts about Mugsy’s behavior: she is “trap savvy” (which explains why she hasn’t entered a humane trap yet) and although she was friendly in her own territory, when she traveled in the RV she tended to hunker down and hide and she showed fear of going outside. That confirms for me that she is less likely to break cover and travel. Mugsy wants what most displaced cats want–a place to hide. I would estimate that we have a 95% probability that she is within the area we are focusing our search efforts.
One of the bait cats that I brought with me is actually my old kitty Tiffany. She’s a sweet, persnickety little thing that has a high pitch mew that is so cute. Tiffany lived with my mother up until earlier this year when we had to put Mom into assisted living. I could not keep her, because Tiffaney is afraid of dogs so one of my volunteers Dianna now cares for her. I love Tiffany. She sleeps on human bellies at night and I’m looking forward to two nights of a warm kitty on my belly all night.
I don’t know if Mugsy is a belly-sleeper, but I’m praying that the volunteers and I can catch her and get her back to Etta — and then Mugsy can sleep wherever she wants.
Friday September 3, 2010 – 7:35 a.m. – Bait cats that meow a lot bring a whole new meaning to the term Sleepless In Seattle. I think the longest stretch of sleep I got was twenty minutes last night. Tiffany had many cat naps — I know because as soon as I started to drift off, she was up meowing. When I got out of the shower a few minutes ago, she
was no where to be found. That’s because I forgot that Tiffany likes to sleep under the covers. So she’ll be snoozing away this morning while I head out to pull SD cards from the cameras to find out if we caught Mugsy on camera. There better be a Starbucks up here. I mean, we’re just a stones throw from Seattle…right?
Friday September 3, 2010 – 2:15 p.m. – ** WILDLIFE CAMERA RESULTS **
We caught two mice on camera but that was it. That means one of three things: (1) Mugsy is no longer in this brush area (2) Mugsy is in the brushy (target search) area but is not yet ready to respond to food and has not reached her Threshold Factor; or (3) Mugsy is still in the brush (target search) area but she is in the two more inaccessible areas and has not picked up the scent of the cat food. My gut feeling, based on Mugsy’s temperament and how she’s behaved the past two times she’s been flushed out, is on number three.
There is a steep, marshy area filled with thick vegetation and its an ideal place for her to hunker down.
We believe she’s either in there, or that she moved further west (away from the construction noise) and is in another area that is flat terrain but very thick with vegetation. We haven’t had any food or traps in those two areas, and our goal is to get food and cameras in there tonight and tomorrow. It is likely that she is further west from
the construction area. Today I realized just how loud the construction noise is and that it makes more sense that Mugsy is farther west. One of those areas is so steep that our Missing Pet Partnership volunteers can’t access it. So we’ve called WASART (Washington State Animal Response Team) and requested their technical rescue expertise to rappel down into the steep sections to place the food and cameras for us. This is the first time our organization is collaborating with WASART and I’m very excited about it. Our two organizations share a mutual vision of rescuing companion animals in disasters, although their work is hands on technical rescue (rappelling, water rescue, extrication’s, transporting, etc.) whereas our work is searching for and finding missing pets. Two different services but both needed during disaster (and non-disaster) times. WASART will be staging here at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and placing the cameras. So although I personally will be leaving here tomorrow, I will continue to be a part of this operation and will post daily updates to this blog.