Next go, she looked around and almost ventured in. Next night went in!!! (should say under) but as I got out of the car to pull the string, she left.
I got a much longer string, so that I could sit in the car with the door shut...would it work from such a distance?? Happily, I found out that it would!!! I figured, as she'd been watching all four of the others eat with no ill consequences, and had gone in herself safely, that "tonight's the night", but was VERY happy, when I pulled the rope and the trap dropped, to see her INSIDE! Then I had to use the gate opener...which gate was slow!! and go in to secure the small trap to the (now closed) opening in the big one. Rigo, the kind groundskeeper, was there, and helped hold the big trap down. I attached the small trap with bungee cords, and pulled the door up from the big trap. This created an opening into the little trap.
I had two cats in the big trap, and hoped that Ms. S. would be the first to go into the small one. I had covered the big one to calm them, and covered the small one to make it seem like a good hiding place, then pulled the cover off the big one...YES! Our Summer was the first into the little trap! Slid the back door down into the grooves at the back of the trap, locked that door, and let the other cat out of the big trap! Whew!!
The culmination of three years' effort...over six really, as I started working with that colony maybe eight years ago. There were, maybe, sixty cats then. I told self that journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, and started getting them fixed.
But wait there's more! The one who did NOT get pregnant last year surprised me with kittens (four) this year. She and her three babies were still to be TNR'd (trap, neuter, return) As I was on a roll, I went to the other end of the complex, further along the creek, to see if I could pick up one or more of the boys. I had three neuter appointments for the next day. I had gotten to where I could 'scruff' them and pick them up, tho that's not to say that I could also get them into a carrier. I put the carrier down, put the food down next to it, and wonder o' wonders, scruffed the Mother who only shows up some of the time, and put her right into the carrier!!
Stunned by my good fortune, I had a long talk with them both, and left them covered in my car for the night. bless their hearts...at least they had one another for company. It would be risky and stressful to them to transfer them to a larger cage for the night, then out again. They would stay immobile in fear or at least angst anyhow.
I pick them up in half an hour! Will keep them here for recovery from surgery and some homeopathic hormone re-balancing. Love to all!
PS: Took Hercules in as well to be neutered. He is the baby who had the string around his foot...