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cat going outside for the first time

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
i have a question for anyone who knows cat behavior. i have recently moved to a new apartment and brought a cat who was a stray with me. she was living out in a wooded area near my old apartment, but came to greet me when i came home from work, ate the food i gave her daily, and would sometimes sleep in my apartment (even in my bed, most of the time). i brought her with me when i moved because i couldn't bear to leave her. she's been inside for 2 months. i've opened the door for her from time to time to let her venture outside if she wanted, and she's never taken advantage of it. last night, she went outside and when i went to get some shoes so i could see where she was going, she disappeared. i just need to know if and when she may come back and what i need to do to get her to come back to me. i am on the second floor in an apartment building. will that prevent her from getting back to my apartment? apparently she went down the stairs when she left last night. how long is a reasonably period of time for her to be gone? i am desperately worried. please help! thanks.
post #2 of 13

You were very kind to take kitty with you! Wish more people were like you. First, do you know if she's had any shots and if she's been spayed? If she's not spayed, she may be looking for a compatable mate -- she could be gone for a few days up to a few weeks. You could try posting some flyers in your building, calling your area animal shelters, and checking the lost and found in your local paper. Pet stores and veterinarian offices often post lost and found notices also. Since she's been inside your apartment for 2 months it reasonable to assume that she has acclimated herself to her new environment and could find her way back to you; By that, I mean that she's adjusted herself to the new direction of the sun. However, it's puzzling that after two months she only now decided to go out. It may be worth a trip back to your old neighborhood to see if she's wandered back there. Cats have an uncanny homing sense and perhaps something has called her back. I know that sounds vague, I apologize, but sometimes it is a mystery. I would keep looking out for her, put out food and water and if she does come back, have her get a complete physical, spayed, (if not already), and up to date on her vaccinations. Also, I wouldn't let her out again. Cats can live very happily inside if provided with plenty of play toys, ample sunny spots and a scratching post or two.
I hope this has been of some help. I pray that your little one comes back to you. It is frustrating! Let us know what happens.
post #3 of 13
First of all, if she is not spayed, why on earth would you add to the over population of cats by letting her out, especially if she never showed any signs of wanting to go out. If she is spayed, then I take it back. Secondly, if I took in a cat that was a stray and had been outside for quite some time, I would never let her back out. Too many elements, non-vaccinated cats, rabid raccoons, etc.

I have 7 cats and all are perfectly content being inside. What I would have done in your case, was put a harness on her and go out with her to see if she showed any interest in being outside. But, shoulda, woulda, coulda. All you can do now is wait and HOPE that she returns. If she does not, then maybe there is a lesson to be learned from this.

I pray she returns and wish you luck.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I made sure she was spayed when I first found her. I had taken her to the vet twice to make sure she was up to date on all her shots, so before I moved here, she had been given all her vaccinations. If I moved more than 40 miles from where I was before, will she still try to get back to the old place? And she had shown some interest in going outside when I left the door leading to my balcony open before. She left friday night, I haven't seen her yet. I've put out some food and I've gone out about 6 times shaking her treat bag and calling her. Is there anything else I can do? And how long is a reasonable time to wait. I do appreciate all the advice. I freely admit I know very little about cat behavior. I was basing my actions on another stray I had at another place(she is still living with my old roommate). She went outside and came back. I've been interacting with this cat (the one who's now missing) since July of last year, so I thought she was comfortable with me and wouldn't want to run away with me. And before I let her out, I consulted with a few cat people (including my vet)to see how I could let her out and when.
post #5 of 13
Millie - I am so sorry for you that your kitty has left you. You were only trying to do the right thing, I am sure. I will send kitty prayers your way that she returns. Looking and calling at night might be a good idea - cats do like to be nocturnal. Do you have anyone in your old neighborhood that could keep an eye out for her?
Ask your downstirs neighbors to look for her too! Posters and checking with shelters between your two places are both great thoughts, as well.
Let us know how you are doing?
post #6 of 13
I know most people won't agree with me, but I let my cats out all the time. I have moved 3 times with them and each time that I move I keep them in for about a month. But my one cat Rocky stays out for exactly 2 days on his first time out. It's weird and I wasn't comfortable with it, but he came back after 48 hours each time. I guess he goes exploring. It just amazes me that he finds his way back. I was nervous this time because it was the first time I moved to an apartment (was always in a house) and I too am on the second floor, but there he was waiting at the door for me, a little dirty but no more worse than the wear.

Good Luck and be sure to let everyone know when he comes back.

post #7 of 13
Millie, I know that maybe you won't like what I tell you, but if your cat does return I recommend that if he is happy inside, leave him there. I had a beautiful angora cat that I lost because I let him go out and he was injured by another agressive cat, I cried rivers over it, and I still can't get over how much I miss him. My new kitten stays only inside, my boyfriend bothers me because he says cats should be allowed to be outside, but I just don't want to go over that ordeal again. With enough toys any cat can live happily indoors. I hope yours returns safely .
post #8 of 13
Millie (and Barb)

I, too let my kitties go outside. I didn't really know any better when we first got kitties and my husband and I love sitting outside with them in the evening and watching them run and play. Once they were used to going out it was very difficult to keep them in. There are woods behind our house and they go in there a lot.

I'm sure keeping them in is better, but we have chosen to let them out in the daytime. We usually have to chase them at night but they are always in the yard by nightfall and in the house by dark.

Millie, I pray your kitty comes home. We found an abandoned kitty on the highway and at first he went outside with my other kitties and disappeared overnight for several nights. He finally came in and stayed for a few days and now he goes out with the others and comes in at night. They all mostly stay in the yard or edge of the woods.

Good luck. I am not recommending letting kitties out. Statiscally, ourdoor kitties life spans are a fraction of indoor kitties.
post #9 of 13
I sincerely hope you find your cat. Is it possible that someone else in your building might have taken her in? Sometimes this happens.Maybe if you post around the building about her? Someone might have thought she was a stray. The part I dont understand is how she can get into the building and up to the second floor to your door. It sounds like it might be difficult for her to get back in.
If you get her back maybe you might want to just take her out on a harness and leash. I do this with my cats and they enjoy it well enough just to be in the yard. Please let us know if you find her.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
just an update. my cat never came back. i feel terribly guilty, but i did what i thouoght was best based on what i had been told by people who were more familiar with cat behavior. it's been a week. i've gone out every day at all hours looking for her. no sign of her yet. i've been told that two weeks is time enough for her to come back if she wants to be here, so i'll give up hope in one week. thanks for everyone's advice and suggestions. i've posted notices and had one response two days after she disappeared, but nothing came from that. i still hope she comes back, but i've learned my lesson.
post #11 of 13
don't give up! there is no set time on when she may come back. it could be 2 or 3 weeks or a month or so. Just don't give up hope!!
post #12 of 13
Millie - please don't beat yourself up over this. We all make 'mistakes' - and I am not so sure what you did even constitutes a mistake. You did what you thought was best and it may not have worked out the way you would have liked. Maybe another kind soul took in your missing beauty? There is always hope....and even if your babe does not return, you should always remember the time you had and the kindness you showed her!
God bless - you are in my thoughts.
post #13 of 13
just wondered if ur stray has come back yet?? Pls keep us posted! Hope he/she does... Hang in there
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