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I was just wondering . . .

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I didn't really know where to post this since it is kind of a story and kind of a question. I have a 15 year old cat I got when I was just four. Most of her life has been spent outside (I live in the country). For a long time she would disappear. Up to 2 years at a time. We would think something had to of happened to her then she would show up again and stay around for a few months and then disappear again. During this time If you brought her into the house she would go nuts and look for any way out. Then one day about 6 years ago she came in on her own and has stayed in ever since. She has no desire now what-so-ever to go outside. If you take her out (she won't go outside on her own) she will immediately go around the side of the house and up the poles to our second story deck where she will sit by the screen door and meow until let in. I have always wondered what brought on this change.
post #2 of 11
How strange! I personally have no idea what would have brought on this change in behaviour, unless she had some "experience" she didn't like too much outdoors, but really I wouldn't have a clue! I'm sure though that some of the great people on this site will be able to shed some light on it for you!

post #3 of 11

I am really anxious to hear the replies to you question.

I have an abandoned kitty that has done the same thing, only in one week. He wandered away 2 nights, got neutered and stayed home one night then wandered 2 more nights. Came in 3 nights ago and will not go outside even for food.

Cats are so amazing. Your story is really amazing that a cat would leave for 2 years and then come back! I wonder if you'll ever know why he has chosen to come inside.

The only thing that occurs to me (sadly) is perhaps he's come home to live out the end of his wonderful life. That really doesn't account though, for his fear of being outdoors.

I hope someone has some thoughts or answers for you. Good luck.
post #4 of 11
I forgot to say....

I don't know all the rules for posts, but I think your story is so interesting, that if permitted I think you should also post it in the lounge (that seems to be where most of us kitty lovers congregate).

I know you would get a lot of interesting responses if you are allowed to post in two forums.
post #5 of 11
I have seen Anne, and other moderators remove muliple threads. Not saying it isn't a good idea, that's just what I've seen. Cleo started a thread in the cat lounge directing people to her thread in behavior about her cats pregnancy.
post #6 of 11
Thanks airprincess,

I suppose if messages were repeated in different forums it could get confusing. Your idea of posting a directive sound like a good one!
post #7 of 11
buttercup, you should also go introduce yourself! and in your post direct everyone to your thread here.

thanks for bringing up the subject gap!
post #8 of 11
Buttercup....I am really glad you posted in the lounge to direct us to this thread....I rarely get time to check out anything other than the lounge....which I moderate, and I wish I did have more time to check all the other threads on the catsite!!
It is nice to meet you!!!
I don't really know what to suggest as to your cats odd behaviour...my only guess is that something or someone has scared her so badly....she doesn't want to go outside the saftey of your house ever again. Maybe someone with more knowledge that me, will answer better!
post #9 of 11
I saw someone else mention a cat's disappearances, and someone's reply was asking if possibly the cat had a second family whom he would go spend time with during his extended absences.

Did you ever have your cat spayed? Because I was thinking maybe she would wander off, and had a second family, and after a time THEY got her spayed, and now she's come home to you, and since she doesn't go into heat, feels no need to wander.

It's a litle far-fetched, but it just came to me
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, for all the input. Everyone seems to have the same ideas I had so it kind of enforces them. I think something might have happened to her or she just knew that she was getting old and wanted to come home. Yes, she has been spayed since she was two. I also wondered if she might be going to someone else's house while she is gone for a year or two. I live basically in the middle of nowhere in rural Missouri. My closest neighbors are 6 miles away but it is very possible she could have gone there or somewhere else I don't know of. Anyway she is very happy in retirement on my couch right now. I hope she lives to be 30 It's hard to imagine life without my Laura. (named after Laura on 'Little House On The Prairie' my favorite show when I was four.
post #11 of 11
I believe you said originally that she initially stayed outdoors most of the time. Cats who live outdoors have a different idea than you do about belonging to people. They simple adopt a territory and consider it theirs because food is available and the humans are non-threatening. This is a feral cat habit. You may think you are bonding, but in fact you are generally just a pleasant object in their territory -- that is if they will allow you to pet them. They may even get in the habit of calling you to the door, greeting you with rubs and purring, etc., but they have not really bonded. You are a convenience.

Likely scenario -- one day, while out hunting or being cased by dogs or other cats, she came upon another house with some friendly people and she stayed around there to take her meals because her own territory had become insecure. After several years, those people moved away, or some of them did, leaving humans who were less interested in putting out food. Maybe they acquired a dog that frightened her and made coming near for food extremely stressful. So she thought back to how it was at your house -- nothing near the house threatening - nice people -- familiar hiding places.

So one day she comes across a pathway or scent that is familiar, follows it a ways, finds another familiar place, follows that, and lo and behold, there is your house. Food, welcome, friendly humans. She is not stupid. She is getting older, her experiences have tempered her independence somewhat, and she has perhaps had several narrow escapes within recent weeks. Once she is in the house, she discovers it is not such a terrible place, and the food is good, and the folks are friendly inside there too. Now finally, combining her territory (the house) with her food source and humans who speak nicely to her, she begins to feel real security and companionship. She is intelligent and reasonably analytical. The woods and the far-places hold many terrors and traumamtic experiences. The house and its immediate yard is an oasis of security and regular food and shelter and security.

If you reinforce that with a great deal of personal, hands-on attention (carefull not to move in on her too fast), she may truly bond with one or two people in the house. Then it is unlikely that she will go off again.

Of the 30-odd cats that have passed through my care over 3 years and more, I usually retain about 14-16 cats who are bonded to me and not to territory. I have 5 other cats right now who are bound to the area and who come in the windows from time to time, say hello, grab a meal, and go off again. Occasionally I have seen some of the cats who never come back, and most of the time they chirrup at me and may even come over for a sniff and a pat, and then they go about their business. Cats, like people, often are independent of mores and norms and may simply want their own space on their own terms. Just the way it is.
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