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Friday, June 5, 2009

"Ronan", Black DSH, Santa Cruz - Found!

I received a voicemail about two weeks after our search saying that Ronan's person had received a phone call from a person who saw her flyer. The person said that Ronan had been hanging out on her street and coming to her home for food for about one week. This house was within about 10 blocks from Ronan's home. 

Ronan is an adult, all back DSH cat, four and a half years old, that is indoor/outdoor and friendly with people and other cats. He is allowed to go in and out through a cat door, and generally is home in the morning for his meal. This time he did not come home. He had been missing for over a week when I was called out. He had no collar, but he did have a microchip.

We started searching in the immediate area of his home to start to see where we might find Ronan's territory boundary and then to see if we find anything leading out. We checked the whole condo complex, bush by bush and knocked on many doors to see if we could check yards and hand out flyers. The yards were all very small and fenced. There is another apt/condo complex next to Ronan's and we then checked that. This was definitely also part of Ronan's territory due to Dino's reaction of scent indication, which did not surprise Ronan's person. Dino did find a hole under the fence from this complex to the one next door and Dino indicated Ronan's had gone through there in the past. This was a huge complex, and we decided to come back to that and check about the other side of Ronan's complex to see if that led out anywhere. We could come back to this side when we went around the other side.

On the south side of Ronan's complex Dino indicated that Ronan's scent led down the street and then down the next street, which led us directly to a small local neighborhood park. Through this park is a deep creek with very thick vegetation on both side. The creek was completely fenced in on both sides and inaccessible to humans. Later we learned that creek came down from the distant hills and cougar, coyote and many other wildlife were known to hang out there. Dino did indicate that Ronan had been through this park and near this creek.

We crossed the small footbridge across the creek to the neighborhood on the other side. Just on the other side was a small neighborhood park. Here is where we found out about the wildlife that hangs out in the park by a maintenance person. We checked the park and surrounding neighborhood and did not find any of Ronan's scent, so we decided to go back to the other side of the footbridge and focus again in Ronan's immediate neighborhood and then to check the other side of the main street.

Dino led us through on Ronan's scent through this park and through another gate to the apt/condo complex on the other side of the fence where we previously found the hole under the fence. Dino led us around the complex and directly back to the whole in the fence. This means that this is part of Ronan's territory and that he was using the whole in the fence to go back and forth. Dino also led us around the fence down by the street and directly in a beeline back to the back door of Ronan's apartment. This means that Ronan has been going from his home directly to this apt complex as part of his regular territory.

We decided to start to check the other side of the street and see if we could pick up Ronan's scent over there to see if we could either locate him or find a track leading in another direction.

We found Ronan's scent down a parking lot at the far end of an apt complex, and behind that complex was a large community park with lakes. In order to get to that park, there were very thick trees and ivy to get down to the park. There was a fence with multiple holes in it large enough for humans. We found a lot evidence of homeless in the area and Ronan's scent leading directly through all the ivy and brush and trees. If he did get down here and if this was part of his territory then there is no telling when he would come back. He could have decided one day to extend his territory a bit further and got lost or has a lot to entertain him. There is also known to be an abundance of wildlife in this park like raccoons, coyote and cougar.

We decided to continue to check down the street, which had more apt complexes and private housing. We did find Ronan's scent down the street and we did find more access to the large wooded park down below. Many neighbors said that there is a large population of cats that roam in that area.

My best guess what happened to Ronan is that since he has such a large territory, he is either still in his territory and hasn't decided to come home yet. Or that he has gone outside his territory and has lost his way back. He may eventually find his way back if he follows his track back. There is also a chance of having come in contact with wildlife since where he was tracked had wildlife in the area, but many animals do survive in areas where wildlife exist, so it does not always mean that the pet was taken by wildlife.

(entered into lost pet questionnaire 3/2/10)