As the weather got colder, I became more worried about our little Silver. Where would she go to keep warm?
I began setting her food dish just inside the back door. I turned out the lights in the kitchen and would sit in a chair, frozen, where I could see her and she couldn't see me. She crept up to the open door and then would just sit forever. Finally, she carefully would creep up to the door and oh, so gingerly, put her foot inside, then the next foot, until she was standing inside the doorframe, barely. She ate quickly and then bolted away. Any sound inside or outside would make her jump and run.
Sometimes we would turn out the lights and stand in the dining room to watch her. Silver actually would cautiously creep into the kitchen and wander around briefly. But if we tried to close the back door, she was gone with lightning speed.
While visiting during this time, my daughter and son-in-law were very intrigued with Project Trap-a-Cat. Jared had street cats that he took care of before he moved to Chicago but never one that was so afraid of everything. He tried to get her to come in but to no avail. I was ready to give up but Jared said the one thing that's stuck with me all these years. He said, "Her chances of survival are not good at all outdoors. If she doesn't get hit by a car, freeze, or starve, a larger animal will get her." So I knew we had to trap her.
All through November and December, I kept feeding her just inside the door. Finally, on New Year's Day, we had a plan. Granted, we found out too late, not a very well-thought-out plan. It was so very cold and snowy and was going to get worse.
I must interject here that I still had not done any research on feral cats. I had never heard that term. I was just on a mission at this point to save this one little cat who was so scared and had landed in our yard.
On that New Year's Day, with the back door open and me hiding behind it and Don was in the dark dining room where he could see what she was doing, we moved the food dish further into the kitchen. There was just enough room for me to slam the door closed if I got the chance. I couldn't see her so I was depending on Don to give me directions. So once again, very quietly, he told me what she was doing. This probably took at least 30 minutes. We had to be so careful not to startle her in any way.
Finally, Don said, "Now." And I pushed the door closed.
We had her! Now what?