I have been wondering since Christmas who has been eating all the food in the hedgehog feeding station. Two full bowls have been disappearing every night.
I went outside to look every night every 15 minutes but, whatever it was, ate all the food in the 15 minutes I wasn’t there…..
Thanks to sharing this story on my facebook page, I was kindly loaned a night camera and identified a very persistent cat. It was visiting every night several times a night. It arrived the same time everyday – around 6pm and was coming back regularly until around 11pm.
Alterations were made to the hedgehog feeding station to keep the cat out. But still the cat kept coming….
My mind wandered to a post I had seen about a cat missing in York. It had escaped from its cat carrier outside the vets. An icy day, the owner was not able to run after it. The cat had been missing for a month. A very distinctive long-haired cat.
I looked back at the videos. Was this the same moggie? It looked fat but its fur was a little matted – was it a stray? The vets is on my side of York but was quite some distance away (1 mile). I’ve never seen such a persistent cat – every attempt to block the hedgehog feeder, it managed to find its way in (apart from my final attempt).
I shared the video on the missing cats page and the owner believed she recognised the cat.
Nights of cat trapping attempts followed. A little tuna in the trap and a blanket over the top from the owner’s house so it smelt of her. The cat managed to get the food without triggering the trap! I started to see the cat sitting on my patio chairs looking back at me, before it scarpered when I went out to check the trap. It was getting bolder.
Finally, with the trap set with the latch only just locking, to make it more sensitive, the cat was trapped and the missing cat found.
So, various morals to this tale.
- Putting out hedgehog food in the middle of Winter can save other animals. It wasn’t 7 dinner Sid but a cat in need. He ate well whilst he was missing!
- If you do want to keep cats out, a 4 inch tunnel entrance and long dividing baffle wall inside the hedgehog feeding station works.
- Missing cats can stray far from home. This boy was about two miles from home and around a mile from where he was lost.
Very happy with the results of my foray into being a pet detective!
KitKat is now reunited with a very happy owner and I am on a mission to buy my own night camera….
I’m not normally a pet detective. I run a hedgehog rescue in York. I leave food out for the hedgehogs all year, including in Winter. This helps small hedgehogs get up to weight for hibernation. Hedgehogs also wake up during milder spells and go in search of food.
UPDATE – I have now bought my own trail camera and you can read my top tips and advice for wildlife trail cameras here.
You can find out more about how to support my work here.