Mystery paw prints?

corvidae

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Hi all! I’m back again - this time with a mystery to solve.
I just went outside to take out the trash, and noticed a set of cat prints in the snow heading into our shed (it is a very old not great shed, there’s a cat-sized hole that our previous neighbour’s cat would go through sometimes). I couldnt see any prints going out, although there is one side of the shed that is behind a fence too tall for me to peer over. My roommate and I combed the shed as best we could (it is very messy- landlord seems to store random things in it), with a flashlight and shaking treats and didn’t discover a cat, or any escape holes besides the one we know about. I put out a bowl of tuna (the smelliest thing we have right now) by the entrance to the shed but in a patch of untouched snow so we can see if there are prints (vs wildlife eating it). It’s too dark out right now to investigate further - does anyone have ideas for what to check when it is light out again?
 

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CatladyJan

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Since there is a side of the shed you cannot see it’s possible there is a entrance/exit there.
Being that the shed is full of junk, despite your ransacking it the cat could easily be hiding especially high up or in a tunnel.
Do you have a trail cam you can put out?
Curious to find out the mystery please keep us posted.
 
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corvidae

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We went to have another look in the daylight and established (by looking at the inside of the wall of the shed that is obscured from the outside) that there are no escape holes there. The tuna was untouched, and still no sign of a cat. My fiancé thinks that maybe there was a cat in the shed before it snowed and the one set of prints is because it exited after the snow fall, but there has been snow on the ground for a while and I feel fairly certain I would have noticed it before now if they had been there for a few days? Either way, we are going to get some materials to build a cat shelter for the yard- just in case this little one (or another cat) needs somewhere warm. The winters here are brutal and the plywood shed would not provide much insulation/protection. Unfortunately we don’t have a trail cam, but if more prints show up, it might be a good investment!
 

fionasmom

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That is very kind of you to think about another possible cat who might need shelter. Keep watching and let us know. A trail cam would be the easiest on both of you and I don't think that for this you need more than an inexpensive one that would let you know what you need to in this situation.
 

CatladyJan

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We went to have another look in the daylight and established (by looking at the inside of the wall of the shed that is obscured from the outside) that there are no escape holes there. The tuna was untouched, and still no sign of a cat. My fiancé thinks that maybe there was a cat in the shed before it snowed and the one set of prints is because it exited after the snow fall, but there has been snow on the ground for a while and I feel fairly certain I would have noticed it before now if they had been there for a few days? Either way, we are going to get some materials to build a cat shelter for the yard- just in case this little one (or another cat) needs somewhere warm. The winters here are brutal and the plywood shed would not provide much insulation/protection. Unfortunately we don’t have a trail cam, but if more prints show up, it might be a good investment!
That is a wonderful idea.
 
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corvidae

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Two updates!
First of all, we saw a cat in the yard on Friday! Not sure if it’s the same one. It was people friendly but didn’t stay around to chat
1527EDBD-AFB8-452A-A2BB-BFF0CCD3A94C.jpeg

We were on our way to a time sensitive errand and they didn’t seem to be in distress so we didn’t grab them or call the shelter- though we certainly will if they come back!

Secondly, with some help from other cat people in the area, I got a shelter all set up! It was given to me for free from someone who takes care of a colony. It’s made out of a styrofoam cooler, weatherproofed with garbage bags, and stuffed with straw. I replaced the garbage bags and straw (the shelter had been out of use for a bit) and also taped a layer of cardboard and a ceramic tile to the bottom of it, under the garbage bags, to weigh it down and provide a bit more insulation. Right now I have it set on some old oven racks that I found in the aforementioned junk filled shed, to keep it off the ground. I put out dry food yesterday afternoon (we picked up some cheaper stuff at the grocery store yesterday because I don’t have the money to put out the 70 dollar a bag Dr. Elsey’s my 3 eat for the neighbourhood cats 😳) and we don’t seem to have any takers yet, but I guess I’m someone who cares for strays and ferals now, at least in theory!
FEFD93F8-79C6-40D9-8DA3-2A3846873B6E.jpeg
 

fionasmom

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This is really great that you have made this shelter and have offered food. They are lucky and will hopefully use it.
 
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corvidae

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This is really great that you have made this shelter and have offered food. They are lucky and will hopefully use it.
I hope they use it too! So far no takers - I've sprinkled a bit of catnip by the door of the shelter so hopefully any cats who are wandering nearby will come check it out.
 
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corvidae

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Update - the catnip worked! I didn’t see any cats but the food bowl has definitely been eaten from. It didn’t seem like our mystery visitor had checked out the shelter at all, but hopefully now that at least one cat knows we have food, it will come back if/when it needs to!
 
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