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Need some advice urgently

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Coco, who's my nearly 1-year-old Abyssinian, has been an inside cat since I got her. About 5 days ago, she discovered the cat-flap and started to venture outside. At first it was only 10 minutes and she'd come back inside, then a bit longer and then in and out most of the day like the other cats. I felt a bit wary about this, Coco is quite a skittish cat and I thought she'd be easily spooked by noises and pretty overwhelmed by all the new sights and sounds. She seemed to be doing well until 2 days ago. All the cats are called in for their dinner at around 5pm and let out again at 7am the next morning. So Coco goes out with the others in the morning (Vegemite is too little to go out) and hasn't come back inside for 2 days and 2 nights.

Now, she's not lost, I hear her bell outside and even her meowing and if I open a door to the outside and she happens to be near it, she runs. I've been calling and calling her, walking around the garden and trying to tempt her with little bits of food - she hasn't eaten for 2 days now. All I get is a glimpse of her running into another part of the garden or next door's garden, as she won't let me get near her.

She's tagged, microchipped and spayed so that if she does 'run away', hopefully she will be found. But the thing is, she's staying right near the house and garden. I'm not sure whether to put food out for her - if I do, I have no chance of catching her with food, but I don't want her to starve. She's probably drinking, there's a water bowl outside that all the cats drink from.

Coco is usually very loving, will roll over for a tummy rub if you're near, gives the best head-bumps and loves a cuddle, all the while purring like a Mac truck.

Nothing has happened within the house, like a scare, a fight with one of the other cats or a visit to the vet. In fact she'd walk around the house meowing if she couldn't find one of the other cats -they all get along really well.

An idea I had was to hire a humane trap from the council and perhaps try to trap her that way. If I do that, I can't leave food out for her now, as she won't go for the food in the trap.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what's happened in her mind? I've spent two days and been up until 5am each night, calling, wandering and trying to catch her - I'm exhausted and very, very worried.

PS. feel free to move this thread if it's in the wrong place, it just didn't quite seem to fit into the 'lost' or 'feral' category.
post #2 of 19
I hope that you can get her inside. I am not very good at what to say to help in these situations as all of my kitties are in door one. The humane trap does sound like the best idea. Good luck!
post #3 of 19
This is a 'behaviour issue' I think so I'll move it there for you. We have many members who frequent the behavior forum who will surely be able to help you.
post #4 of 19

Put her litterbox outside and take the soiled litter and sprinkle it in a path to the box. Set her food dishes near an area that she can see from the box- but not to close. Sounds to me like she either has been injured, or she is scared. I don't know what type of weather you are in (sorry) but if your ground is firm and not wet, when you see her, lay down on your belly facing her, and talk to her. Don't make eye contact, just stay down and talk to her. Most cats when they see you on their level, will come to you quicker than if you are towering above her, especially if someone has hurt her and she is now scared of humans.

Good luck!
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mary Anne, I will do that. The weather here is quite warm at the moment - 30C for the last couple of days. Though, it wouldn't matter if it was raining buckets and the ground was covered in 4 inches of mud - I'd still be on my belly.

It's 1am here at the moment - is it okay to do the litter box and food now or is it best to wait until morning?

I just wanted to say too that I don't think it's the orphaned kittens causing the problem - I've had the little ones coming in since October. Coco will lie near their box or pen for hours just purring away and watching them.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
After all that, Coco came strolling in through the catflap and started eating her dry food, just like nothing had happened!! All the cats are currently in 'lockdown' for a few days, to give Coco a chance to recover from whatever it was that was troubling her.

I've checked her over frome head to tail and there's no injuries, so that's good.

Board magic does work - I make the post about Coco and two hours later, she's home, without me doing a thing!

Thankyou so much Mary Anne for your advice.
post #7 of 19
Oh gosh! I am glad she came back in!!! You must be SO relieved!
--These kitties have NO idea how they can upset the humans they own!!
post #8 of 19
I was ggoing to ask around for you regarding a solution, but Im so glad things worked out.
Cats sometimes do whatever they want - and there's nothing we can do but watch...

Im so happy she's fine!!!
post #9 of 19
Personally I don't let my cats outside. I grew up in the country and we always had a couple of cats. However, our track record was not too good. Here's my history with indoor/outdoor cats. Maybe I can convince you to keep your cats inside.

Smokey- Started out as an indoor cat untill we moved out to the country. He was declawed and didn't stray far from home. He stayed with us for all his days.

Pebbles and Bambam- These were both adopted barn kittens, and were born to the outdoors. Pebbles was my sisters skittish female, spayed ...but would disapear for a week or two at a time. Come home for a month and then take off again. She would reappear in the middle of the night dirty and terrified. Eventually she just never came home. Her brother, my cat disapeared uncharacteristally and in the spring we found that he had been hit by a car. I was extremely devastated.

Selvester- A very loving kitten adopted from a friends litter. He was very good at coming and going and being in by night. We went out of town for one evening and my parents left him outside with a bowl of food. We stayed one night longer than planned and I was worried about him. Sure enough when we came home there was food, but he was gone. We never saw him again. There is a fairly large coyote population in our area which I've always suspected.

Jezebelle - A bizarre cat, appropriatly named. She was given to us by friends because by this time we had a reputation as animal sympathisers. (Taking in animals other people couldn't keep) She ran away in a pubescent frenzy before we had a chance to get her fixed.

Howard and Sasha- By this point I was older and wanted to keep the cats inside. But my family didn't see it this way. Howard is my Humane Society kitty. Sasha is my sisters cat who she found under a dumpster. She started as an indoor cat, and never ventures far from the perimeter garden. Howard absolutely loves the outdoors and nothing will keep him away from his main hobby of hunting chipmunks. I moved out but couldn't bring him with me an apartment complex. He disapeared for a few days. There was incredible heat, and a thunderstorm. He came back very scared. I told my parents to please, please watch him while he was outside from now on.

Sifto and Toby- my apartment kitties. They have *never* been outside, have never disapeared. They are very well adjusted and don't miss what they've never had.

On top of untimely deaths and disapearances, outdoor cats are more likely to pick up unwanted friends and injuries. I've cat two or three cats with eggs laid under their skin. It's disgusting first off, and makes poor kitty feel very unwell. Not to mention fleas, ticks, scratches, and cat fights.
Also your cat being a purebred, and I'm sure a very pretty one at that... someone might take an interest and "save" your "homeless," "lost" cat.
However, all that said - I know it's very, very hard to make an indoor cat out of a previously outdoor cat. When I get out of apartment life, I'm going to make a safe outdoor enclosure for the kitties to get a taste of the outdoors without the danger.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thankyou for your advice. I'm VERY familiar with the pros and cons of letting your cats out - you don't need to try to convince me of anything. Please don't assume I am clueless about caring for my cats. Perhaps you should read the post here and especially pay attention to the responses regarding other TCS members who have inside/outside cats. I have 2 other cats who are allowed outside so it would have been impossible to MAKE Coco stay inside.

She is fine now and comes inside when called, just like the others.
post #11 of 19
I wasn't trying to imply nor was I assuming that you are "clueless." In fact I find your response suprisingly caustic considering that what I had to say was friendly and well meaning.
post #12 of 19
Okay....let's all step back and take a deeeeeep breath and calm our nerves.


Now that everyone is relaxed, I know we don't have to worry about this turning into an angry thread.

Thanks for keeping it calm and under control!
post #13 of 19
I am lighting a peace candle for you two I think a bubble bath is in order! Turn off the phone, light a candle and have a bubble bath in the dark! Everything will be better in the morning!
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
post #15 of 19
I would love to see a picture of your cat. I use to be so in love with Abyssinians when I was a kid. I wanted one really bad, but my father hates cats so he got me a dalmation instead. heh.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Xastion, there are some pics of her here:

post #17 of 19
I'm glad CoCo is home. I know that was an upsetting episode. You must be relieved it's over.

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am! And she's a naughty girl! LOL But she's been very good since, coming in for her dinner right on time and only going out again the next morning.
post #19 of 19
That's good news. Something must have upset her out there, but she seems to have recovered.

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