I saw Cola the first time around February 2018. I didn't see him "live" but on my wildlife camera. I had gotten the impression that there was more cats in the area than I knew about and started to place the camera in a new place every night. I eventually managed to get a shot of 3 kitties that did not come around the shelter where I fed the other ferals. Cola was one of these 3 cats and Nuka was the other. Nuka and Cola look very similar and are of the same age, so I'm fairly certain they are siblings. Nuka is the brave one though, so I primarily got footage of her, while Cola stayed in the back, only revealed by a set of glowing eyes. I started to "set up shop" where the camera had caught them and put out food and water every night. They quickly caught on, but Cola never ate anything. So naturally I couldn't catch him, but I did manage to TNR Nuka.
It wasn't untill spring that I saw Cola with my own two eyes. I had discovered by chance that the ferals that run around on our ground, has taken shelter in a building on the neighbours ground. It was on the roof of this building that I saw Cola together with his little red buddy Fanta. I decided to move the feeding station closer to their nest, so that they didn't have to cross the fields and be close to houses and the dog that lives down stairs. This did the trick for Cola who started to eat the food I put out and he brought his "kid brother" Fanta with him every night. Fanta is clearly younger, but these two definitely are great friends.
Since Fanta was younger and more curious it was no surprise that I caught him first. But it was only a week after, that Cola went into the trap as well. I could finally get him to the vet.
As I never know when I manage to catch a cat, I have an understanding with my vet. I don't need to make an appointment, I simply show up on in the morning. So four days a week it is possible for me to get a feral cat checked and fixed.
At the vet Cola got a health check. They always check that their teeth are healthy and they check for FIV and FeLV. Thankfully Cola was in good health and they estimated him to be around 1,5 years old. He was vaccinated, neutered and treated against fleas, ticks and worm - just in case. While under sedation he was also tattooed in the ears, which is one of the ways we register cats in Denmark.
Cola on the operation table, getting oxygen.
When I felt confident that Cola was no longer influenced by the sedation, I let him out in the same place that he was caught. He did not waste any time when I opened up the door to the trap. He ran across the field as fast as he could. He didn't run straight home to the nest as I thought he would, but his direction wasn't way off, so I was certain he would recognize his location soon.
Cola did not show up at the feeding station with Fanta as he normally would after I set him free. Fanta came around as usual, but I did not see Cola for four days after his release. Then one night I finally saw him crosse the field together with Fanta, heading for the feeding station. He was on the wildlife camera that same night and then he disappeared on me again for weeks before he returned with Fanta yet again. He has returned to his old routines now it would seem and I'm hoping it sticks this time.
The way TNR works in Denmark is that ones you fix and earmark a cat you own that cat, even if it is not tame. It is my responsibility now to make sure Cola is fed, has shelter and goes to the vet if needed. This is all easier said than done sometimes, but legally he is my cat and responsibility and surely no one else is going to look after him. If he is someday found by someone else, they can get in touch with me by looking up his ear tattoo online. And of course I do my best to take good care of him and the rest of the feral cat colony he belongs to. Cola is my fifth TNR.