This tabby fella first showed up at my feeding station in May 2020. He came right around the same time as Dexter, so before he was named, I called him Dexter's friend. Although I've never actually seen them together, so I think it was a coincident. So when I set the trap in May last year, there was a 50/50 chance of which of the two boys I would catch. It was Dexter who went into the trap. Shortly after I TNR'ed Dexter, both cats mysteriously dissapeared? Dexter returned in December and has been with us ever since. Ninja returned in March, but with a much shorter tail?
To begin with I didn't recognize him. A tabby like him doesn't have many things to make them easy recognizable and his tail had changed. But after checking my video archive I realised I the body shape and face was a match. Today I've been looking at his images so many times, there's no longer doubt in my mind that it is the same cat.
Why he took off, where he went and what happened with his tail we will probably never know.
I was quick to set up the trap as I was eager to get him this time. For two months I set the trap several times a week, having countless sleepless nights and caught the wrong cats several times. I even caught a bird one early morning. We also had the most rainy May in Denmark for 30 years, so the weather wasn't working in my favour either. Some nights he just never showed. I also had the trap shut down without a soul around one night! At one point Ninja managed to eat straight from the trigger plate, without setting off the trap?! Hence the name Ninja. So he caused me a lot of grief, before I finally managed to catch him.
Ninja was very upset about being in the trap. He is definitly top 3 most angry/scared cats I've caught. So there wasn't much doubt that he wasn't tame, but of course we needed to check for a chip. I took him to the vet who didnt find a chip, but a lot of ticks. He got a full checkup and was healthy, appart from the missing tail. So he got the whole package (or taken, rather) and got his ear tattoos as well (this is how we mark cats in Denmark). When I picked him up he was definitly more calm, so I concluded he was still a bit sleepy after the operation. So I gave him some time to recover. When I checked on him later on, he had pulled the blanket, that I had put over the trap, into the trap. They can do that if I dont put the trap on the blanket itself. But I figured he wanted to see where he was this time, so I hadn't done that. The blanket situation told me he was more than ready to be released! And so he got his freedom.
Return of the Ninja
I released Ninja the same place I caught him. Like all cats I TNR he ran as fast as he could away from me. It's always with mixed feelings I release the cats. It means the operation was a succes and I can finally relax a bit. But one worry changes into another. Will the cat come back to the feeding station? There's no guarantees and Ninja had dissapeared on me once already. In my personal experience it's often the male cats that wasn't born here, that will take off once they get TNR'ed. So there was a real risk I would never see Ninja again and my only comfort would be that he was neutered. To my huge relief he returned about a week later. So it looks like I get to be his feeding host after all.