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I need some advice

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
This is a little complicated, so please bare with me. Last December (6 months ago) I got a new kitten (Oscar) as a companion for my cat (Miles, one year old). Two days after getting Oscar, I brought both of them to the vet for shots (annual shots). Miles escaped from the cat carrier and ran out the door of the vet before it closed behind me. He is an indoor cat and we live about a mile or two from the vet. He ran into a neighborhood he was not familiar with. We went door to door (about 200+ homes) and posted flyers everywhere. I also mailed flyers to all the vets and shelters within 20 miles. I was devastated and never gave up...we had many false alarms from folks who saw Miles (he is an all black cat, so I am sure you can imagine!). Well, last week, 6 months later, we got a call. A young boy had seen my flyer over the weekend and he said he thought he had my cat. He said it was an all black cat without a collar that had been living in his back yard since December (can you believe it?!). He said the cat was very shy and didn;t let people get near him (Miles was always skittish, we adopted him when he was 3 months old, he had been born in the woods). I went to the boys house (in a wooded area, behind another house that we gave a flyer to ( we never saw this hidden house) about 3 blocks from the vet!!) to have a look at this cat to make sure it wasn't an imposter. After spending about an hour with him (he didn't run but kept a safe distance), my husband and I felt it really could be him this time (same eyes and size, but the body shape/fur quality a little different from living outside). I went back the next day with a humane trap and he was there, so I sat with him for another hour while he stared at me. I left the trap out and he was too smart for it, he just sat right next to it. The next day, he still did not go for it. I went back to see him and he was not there that day. The next morning though, he was in the trap! So, I brought him home, which would be familiar to Miles if we had not moved two weeks ago!!! So, now he doesn't know who I am or where he is after 6 months! He is very frightened (not hissing or growling though, just hunkered down). As I mentioned before, he was never a lap cat, he has always been aloof and independent. His personality has not changed but I don't think that he understands that he is home again (he sprayed the first day he was in his new room). I have put things that he could be familiar with and things that smell like us in the room (his own private room). He has been hiding for almost a week now. He is eating and drinking a little and using his litter box (when he is alone, probably at night). He lets me get close to feed him but he will not come out of hiding (at night he does though when no one is around). I have looked at books for stray and feral cats but this is unique because he was a domesticated cat for a year and then in the wild for 6 months. It is complicated by the fact that we are in a new house too so I am struggling with how I can make this easier for Miles and get him to come out of hiding even just to poke around. I don't expect him to come up to me or want to be pet, he was never like that (he did love to follow me around and we sit on me while I slept). He is definitely still really stressed out (I have put a comfort zone plug-in in the room to help calm him) but I wanted to know what else I can do to help him adjust, I realize this could take weeks or even months. He has a nice hiding place in his room, but I would hope that soon he will come out o explore while I am there (and/or my husband) so he can get familiar with us again. I am keeping Oscar and Miles separate for now (I still need to get Miles to the vet for a full check-up, which I am terrified to do because of how he escaped last time). I am not even quite sure how I will get Miles into a carrier again, or how the vet might hold him, it will be very difficult because of all the recent trauma. Does anyone have any advice on how to help him acclimate to his new surroundings and how I may get him to relax and trust me again? Also, any advice on how to get him to the vet so that I can introduce the two cats (advice there as well, I have been reading but personal experience is always good)? Miles has never been motivated byu food or toys so using those to coax him out of hiding will not work. I appreciate any help, advice or suggestions that anyone may be able to provide.

post #2 of 3
Hi Peggy-

Wow! What a story! I am glad you got Miles back, if it is indeed him. Looks like he has lived up to his name.

It only takes a week of living in the wild, before a cat is back to its feral nature. So even though you have had this cat before, you have to cast aside how he used to be, and go with how he is now. You have no way of knowing what he had to endure while he was outside and so he has reverted back to his natural state in order to survive.

Have you seen this article?


I would put him in a dark room with classical music playing low. I would give him a lot of dark places to hide out in there, dim the lights and let him be. I would go in there about 4-5 times a day and just sit on the floor and read to him. If he comes out, I wouldn't look him in the eyes, I wouldn't reach out to touch him, I would just let him decompress from his trauma and his adventure. It is going to take time, but he will come around. I would feed him at scheduled times every day, in the same place and see to his needs. But right now, he needs calm and quiet and to know he is safe. His world has really been rocked to the core, and I hate to say this, but it may not be Miles after all. There are a lot of black cats in the world. I hope it is him, but you have to treat him as a brand new stray or you won't get anywhere with him very fast.

Good luck!
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
I am hestitant to believe right away that this is Miles as well, but after seeing so many at the shelter and at homes we were called to, we were already inclined not to believe after 6 months. When we saw this black cat though, he had the same unique eyes and also his fur color and length are too similar. Also, no one in the neighborhood knows this cat and he has been there since December. I will try to create more dark place around the room for him to get to..I have kept the lights out the whole time (it is has two windows in the room so it is bright enough in the day)..I will also try the classical music, I have heard before that it is helpful. I appreciate your advice and I will read that article you included.

Thanks again!
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