We have had mixed success with our cats and Monarchs. Our giant crop of 8 active cats are now all dead or out flying around, about half and half.
We are doing the best we can against the Tachinid flies without using insecticides. We’ve had a few straight forward successful launches, several dead on arrival or severely mal-formed plus one heroic recovery whose story follows below.
On my watch a Monarch emerged that had trouble with the wing inflation/deflation/drying process so I set up a chair under the car port to watch over the little lady while she struggled to get airborne. When she fell to the ground and could not get her wings to work I’d gently tease her onto my finger tip and put her on a flower cluster hoping that nectar would help her avoid dehydration until she could recover the proper form and begin her departure sequence. She had one partial success flying about 2 feet with her wings nearly touching the pavement. When she stalled again I tried to get her onto a flower but that produced only falls to the pavement.
Phase 2: I wanted to keep her hydrated so I put her in the puddler (damp sand) and hoped she’d get some fluid intake in the 90 degree heat. I left her in the puddler and went inside.
Phase 3: I went out to check on her and she was in the coils of a garden hose on the ground. When I approached her to put her back in the puddler she took off and flew up into the pomegranate tree where she rested for a while and departed on her mission to find a fertile male monarch.
That’s all I could do and I’m pleased and proud that our brave lady has a chance to contribute to the Monarch Tribe.