In the six nights I’ve kept a video camera with motion-sensored image-capturing software trained on the “rat cave” I reconstructed since first displacing the momma rat and then subsequently discovering (with Ranger’s help) the nest of six rodent newborns, the best I’ve been able to come up with in terms of proof of momma’s comings and goings are grainy captures of fleeting blurry things that are entirely not definitive.

Each morning I’ve dutifully reviewed the series of images from the previous night, archived as a timelapse movie and for the most part from between 9 p.m. and daybreak this is all I see (click to enlarge):

ratcam-copy.jpg

Other than any bugs and spiders that meander through the frame there is the occasional blur or flash of something larger moving to and fro. But that one clear and conclusive still of the matriarch has proved elusive, leading me to believe she either abandoned her kids or managed to move them elsewhere.

I bring this lack of any new development up because the cats, who I’ve kept inside  all this time and including the prior week after the discovery of the hummingbird nest, have been very patient but are increasingly becoming fed up with not being able to go outside. Jiggy’s the most aggravated, with Pepper being the most forlorn and Pumpkin with his short attention span being the least bothered by the ban. Bink, who’s appetite and demeanor  and strength keeps improving, seems fully content to be an indoor cat now and couldn’t care less about the great outdoors anymore.

But for those cats who do enjoy it the question becomes how much longer do I keep them from it? And the answer is one more day; maybe two. I was going to let them out this morning after finding nothing on today’s video but I’ve decided to prolong their agony by giving the rats a couple more days. After that, the RatCam’s days are done and while I won’t immediately dismantle the rat cave right away, I won’t take  any additional steps to protect it from any curiosity, if any,  the cats exhibit towards it.