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Help with feral rescue and problematic adopter??

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Long story short...Found a large colony of cats that were abandoned. Took out a few so far for rescue and adoption. Some cats are friendly and others are semi-feral and/or scared. A lady that we knew wanted to take one from the colony, so we figured it would be okay. Ended up grabbing the one she wanted yesterday. Put it in the carry case. It wanted to get out, and was very scared. We went back to the lady's house and she insisted on bringing the cat in by herself. ( I thought we would at least help her get set up but she wanted to go in with the cat on her own.) So today, we didn't hear from her until the early evening. She says "she lost the cat." And she had lost it 12 hours earlier and never called us sooner than later. She assured us that the cat would be fine in her bathroom, that there was no way for it to get out at all. However, somehow it is not there now. Now also, she assured us the windows are always closed and the doors are locked. Then we find out there is a hole in her cabinet for pipes that may drop into her kitchen ceiling. So one of two things may have happened: 1-the cat found this hole and dropped down 2-he darted out of the bathroom and could be anywhere in the house (which is very big with different levels). This lady can be VERY difficult to deal with and does not tell the truth. She is well intentioned but not very smart. We thought we were doing this little cat a favor because she was willing to adopt one and is a good owner for her others, but now I am VERY sorry I caught this cat. All of the rescues I have done, I have NEVER trapped a cat and gave it to anyone, either worked with them myself or gave to another rescue person. This lady assured us that the cat would be only in her bathroom. Had I gone into this lady's house with her and saw how the cat was reacting and saw how scared he was, I would have either taken it back with me to work with it or told her to make sure she leaves it in the carrier overnight. She would normally call us with a problem. She never told us the cat was in her bathroom hissing, climbing the walls, and couldn't pick him up. If she called us last night and told us this, we would have been right over there to help. Once she saw the cat was gone, she began cleaning including vacuuming!! She had time to do her own things for the day, like reading and cooking and watching tv. And then when convenient, called us after the fact. I am furious that she didn't tell us sooner and ask for our help, when she does with everything else. I am also angry at myself for catching this cat for her. Most cats in this colony are more friendly than not. This one was very gentle and cautious, and appeared to be only 5 months old or so. But was probably born outside, after the cats were left abandoned. Any suggestions on how to locate this cat? He is scared and only in her house for one day. We are hoping he is upstairs, but have no idea if he got downstairs or even outside. Nevermind the lady, my concern is for this little cat who has no idea where he is or what the inside of a house is.
post #2 of 9
yikes, what an annoying lady! I would convince her to let you in there with a trap and try to catch it that way. you say she has other cats, has the colony cat been tested or vaccinated or anything? you can put the fear of god into about it potentially threatening her cats' health, so she may be more pliant. she'd have to keep the other cats locked up while the trap is out, but a 5 month old kitten gets hungry fast and doesn't have much willpower

even if the cat seemed like a good fit at first, being in the colony it's probably so used to being around other cats that it got scared when locked up in a strange place alone. here's hoping you can get it out of there without too much trouble!
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well, we went and looked today. It appears more likely the cat could have climbed behind the cabinet and into the wall and piping. Haven't heard or seen anything at all. The cat could be stuck in her walls or found a way out through a vent. Or still could have darted anywhere else in her very large house...We put food and water everywhere. The lady is such a problem, she keeps saying she thinks it is gone, basically hoping we will be gone too. We need a miracle here-to see this cat at all. It is a very quiet cat, but I am hoping, hoping, hoping, that if it gets hungry enough it will meow ALOT. Enough to be heard and enough to annoy the lady that she will be begging for us to get right over there. I still feel HORRIBLE for this cat. And feel HORRIBLE that I even caught this cat to give to her. Today she turned it around and asked, "Why did you give me a cat like this?" She insisted that this was the cat she wanted. All the previous ones from this colony were friendly and docile. However, the one cat we caught that wasn't going to a rescue, had to be one of the smallest and most scared of the entire group, and we only found that out after the fact. It is real difficult dealing with this lady, she never told her husband she was taking this cat, so now to ask him to help with the wall issue is another big problem, her priorities are off-she's more concerned about next week's company coming to a clean house, and the tv shows at her specific times, than finding a terrified cat that may be trapped and lost somewhere in her house. Am so frustrated, angry, and depressed with this entire situation...

We will find the cat We will find the cat We will find the cat!!!!
post #4 of 9
Do not beat yourself up over this. You tried to do the right thing for the kitty. I'm sorry she didn't understand how scared this kitty might be.

Quick suggestion. Have her keep the bathroom door closed, with food, water and litter box in the bathroom. That way you can tell if the cat has come out from the pipe holes to eat and you can eliminate the rest of the house as a potential.

I doubt kitty is stuck. Unless she found her way out of the house, she will most likely come out for food. If she doesn't come out the first night, give it a couple of days to make sure (because if the woman has other cats, there's no way to tell who's eating the food that's out, right?)

IF it turns out kitty is hiding in the walls and DOES come out for food, next step is to then use a trap in the bathroom. If that doesn't work, you'll have to borrow someone's pet mouse - or borrow one from a pet store - or buy one. Leave it in the cage (obviously) and either use a drop trap with the bathroom door open and someone manning it out of site - or try putting it in the trap. The prey drive will be strong enough to draw her out.

for kitty to come out and eat!



Laurie
post #5 of 9
Another quick suggestion. If it turns out kitty is in the walls and you do have to use a trap, CLEAN IT COMPLETELY - get rid of ALL cat smell and fear smell. Spray it with Feliway. Maybe sprinkle a little catnip near the food you put in it. Cover the bottom with newspaper.

Laurie
post #6 of 9
i have a suggestion that may make her more amenable to you being allowed to locate the cat... point out that if, in truth, the cat is still in the house [& possibly in the wall!] that if the cat is NOT rescued, it will die & stink up her house. since she's saying she wants a 'clean house' for expected company, this may lead her to come clean if she actually released the cat intentionally outside of the home.
if she didn't intentionally get rid of the cat, the idea that she might be dealing w/a horrid smell for months will make her more willing for y'all to set the trap, leave out food/water, keep the door closed, etc.
i've been in houses where a rodent died inside of the walls - cats are much larger.
i'm hoping [& sending & to that effect!] that the cat is still in the home... but stating facts baldly in this way may lead you to the truth of the situation, regardless of what it is.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL THE SUGGESTIONS. WE WERE ABLE TO GET HER TODAY. LAST NIGHT, WE LOOKED IN A CEILING HOLE AND SAW THE FOOD WAS GONE AND THE BOWL WAS FLIPPED OVER. SO I PUT THE TRAP UP THERE. THE LADY WAS VERY RESISTANT AND ALLOWED US ONLY 3O MINUTES TO GO THERE BEFORE SHE WENT TO BED. ANYWAY, SHE WAS GOING OUT THIS MORNING, AND WOULDN'T BE HOME UNTIL LATE THIS EVENING. SO WE INSISTED WE MUST GET OVER THERE. IN THE MEANTIME, THE LADY SAW THE CAT IN HER BASEMENT AND PUT DOWN FOOD FOR HER. (IF WE DIDN'T CALL HER-SHE WOULDN'T HAVE TOLD US THIS). WE WENT OVER HER HOUSE AS SOON AS SHE WOULD ALLOW US IN-AND SET A TRAP IN THE BASEMENT. THE LADY LEFT AND ALLOWED US TO STAY IN HER HOUSE WHILE SHE WAS GONE (A MIRACLE)! SO THE TRAP WAS SET IN THE BASEMENT-AND WE HEARD THE CAT MEOWING AROUND. WE WAITED A BIT, AND THE CAT WAS NOWHERE NEAR THE TRAP. WE WENT DOWN TO SIT QUIETLY AND SEE IF HE WOULD COME OUT. HE DIDN'T. AND THEN WE SPOTTED HIM IN THE BEAMS UNDER THE CEILING. WENT TO GRAB HIM-SINCE HE HAD NO WHERE TO GO. HE ENDED UP TRYING TO DART OUT PAST ME AND I GRABBED HIM WITH A BLANKET AND WE GOT HIM IN THE CARRY CASE!!! HE WAS VERY SCARED AND HISSING. WE CLEANED EVERYTHING UP FOR THE LADY-ALL THE FOOD BOWLS WE HAD DOWN AND EVERYTHING AND WITH ALOT OF RELIEF AND GRATITUDE- COULD LEAVE HER HOUSE WITH THIS CAT! WE IMMEDIATELY WENT AND PICKED UP A CAGE-AND THE CAT IS NOW ALL SET UP (HOW HE/SHE? SHOULD HAVE BEEN ORIGINALLY). HE DID STARVE/DEHYDRATE. HIS BONES ARE ALL STICKING OUT EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN NOT TELL UNDER HIS LONG HAIR. SO HE IS NOW RESTING AND RECUPERATING. HE ATE SOME TUNA AND IS NOW IN HIS CAGE COVERED UP AROUND ALMOST ALL SIDES. STILL CRYING A BIT-DON'T KNOW IF IT BECAUSE HE IS SCARED, OR FEELS BAD FROM STARVING, OR IS IN HEAT. REGARDLESS, WE ARE ABLE TO DO WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE FROM THE START-AND NOW I CAN FEEL ALOT BETTER KNOWING WE CAN DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THIS CAT. AND IS SO NICE THAT WE WON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS LADY ALSO!! THANKS AGAIN EVERYONE! I AM SO GLAD WE GOT THIS CAT, THAT IT DIDN'T GET OUT OF HER HOUSE, AND THAT IT WILL BE OKAY!
post #8 of 9
What wonderful news! PLEASE do keep us posted!

Laurie
post #9 of 9
that's great news! i'm sure the kitty will recover quickly now that he's actually with people who care about his well-being!
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