Beware, Cat Sitters! I have a game camera!

Of course, it's Olivia.

Of course, it’s Olivia.

If you are not from a world where your family seasonally tracks, shoots, skins, and eats various animals, hunters use game cameras to monitor animal activity on trails. The camera is bungee corded to a tree, responds to motion, and can take either still images or video. It indicates time of day, temperature etc… so that a hunter knows that the biggest buck in the world routinely passes this way at roughly the same time every day. Bang!

There are more mundane uses as well. For example, my dad recently set up a game camera to determine what was going through his trash. The culprits were two cats, one of which belongs to him, and a possum who over the course of three days chewed each individual piece of gum in a pack of Icebreakers Icecubes presumably to get the taste of moldy ham out of its mouth. One of my friends uses a more household friendly version called Dropcam to spy on her toddler. It connects to an app on her phone so her child will never have a moment of privacy until she turns 18 and moves out.

I’ve always joked- sort of but not really joking– that I need a set up like Dropcam or  a nanny cam to monitor the cats’ activities when I’m at work or traveling. I’m willing to bet that it is hours of napping with short moments of racing at top speed and chewing up pieces of mail. Also because of the animal traffic I get in my yard, I’ve said for years that I need a game camera out there. I’ve seen at least one possum and one groundhog, as well as a whole family of skunks however there have been many times that I would like to catch them in action especially when someone decides to dismantle my compost bin. The stumbling block to the game camera has always been the price tag.

Through the virtues of the clearance rack plus coupons, my mom gifted me with an affordable game camera for Christmas! Last night was the first night since being home from Christmas that I had the strength and brain power to deal with setting up the camera. One broken pair of scissors later, I had released it from its plastic cage and read the directions. Before going to bed, I used the included bungee cords to strap the camera to a bench at about cat level and hoped for the best.

Olivia and I played some rounds of Fetch the Mousie to warm things up.

The most flattering picture of me that the camera took.

The most flattering picture of me that the camera took. Olivia is helping get the mousie.

I went to bed at about 11:30, but Olivia kept the party going until about midnight.


11:52 p.m.

11:52 p.m.

All was quiet from about midnight until 5:26 a.m.: 1st scoop time. Over breakfast I was flipping through what was captured, and I snorted my coffee through my nose at this photo. It’s my favorite with all four of them together. Look at those little bad asses!

If this was a movie, they'd be in slow motion.

If this was a movie, they’d be in slow motion.

5:27 a.m. Miles "patiently" waits for me to stumble down the hall.

5:27 a.m. Miles “patiently” waits for me to stumble down the hall.

5:28 a.m. Sasquatch!!!

5:28 a.m. Sasquatch!!!

After their first scoop, there was some general wandering around recorded. (I went back to bed.) During this time, the cats hung out directly in front of the camera which resulted in some cool whiskery silhouettes.

At 6:12 a.m., Miles said, “Screw this noise” and went back to bed.

6:12 a.m.

6:12 a.m.

He was joined by Sookie at at least 7:45 a.m.

He was joined by Sookie at  7:45 a.m.

Then his cat spidey sense detected that I was waking up and it was time to really get the day started.

8:14 a.m. Stuff to do.

8:14 a.m. Stuff to do.

8:23 a.m. Mom's up!

8:23 a.m. Mom’s up!

I realize that this ups the ante on the whole Crazy Cat Lady thing, but it’s also kind of a fucking cool toy to play with. I couldn’t find any mention of temperature restrictions, but I don’t think that I’ll set it up outdoors until the Polar Vortex passes. However nothing is stopping me from quietly setting it on the shelf to monitor human visitors. You’ve been warned.

6 thoughts on “Wildlife

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