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Kitty won't come home

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
One of our cats (Sydney)is out in the woods and won't come home. We adopted her from a shelter over 3 years ago. She was at least 6 months old when we got her. She was terrified!! She hid under our freezer, couch, bed, or anywhere else she could find. She eventually warmed up to us and has been a wonderful cat. She was too scared to go outside. One time she went out and started chasing a butterfly, when she noticed how far from the house she had gotten she freaked out. Her tail puffed up and she ran frantically trying to get back in the door. She didn't show any interest in going outside after that. Until about two months ago. I opened the door to let in the other cat (at midnight) and she flew right out the door. apparently she liked the night. She did come back in the morning and this began our new routine. The longest she was ever gone was about 36 hours. Then about 2 1/2 weeks ago she left in the morning and when I pulled into my driveway about 9pm she was sitting by the front door. As I approached the house she ran away. A little while later she came running across the yard and up the steps. She saw one of my other cats and turned around and ran away again. I thought she was acting very odd. We didn't see her again for two weeks. Then last weekend we heard meowing at the front door. My daughter opened the door (maybe a little too quickly) and Sydney ran away again. I followed her into the woods with a can of food and I heard her meow every time I called her name but she wouldn't come to me. I left some food outside for her but didn't see her again for a couple days. We have seen her near the woods a couple times but she hasn't come up near the house again. Every night I leave food on the front deck and she hasn't touched it. The nights are getting colder and I am getting worried about her. After two weeks I thought we had lost her. I was relieved to see that she is okay but now I want her to come home. I don't understand her behavior. We have had her for over three years. Would two weeks outside make her afraid of us all over again. Any suggestions as to how I can get her to come back or as to why she is acting so strange would be appreciated. She is spayed and is current on all her shots.
post #2 of 20
My goodness. Poor baby. I would guess that because she is predisposed to fear (being an anxious cat), being outside for so long has heightened her fear to the point that now she has returned to being afraid of you like she was in the beginning.

I think it would be wise to purchase, rent, or borrow a humane trap. Put a bowl of tuna inside and see if you can catch her and bring her inside.

When you do catch her, isolate her in a room for several days so that she will be used to the house and the people again before giving her free run of the place. And...please do not let her out any more.
post #3 of 20
KC - Hi from Deb!
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi Deb!!
Thanks again for telling me about this site. I stopped on my way home and rented a have-a-heart trap for a week. I am hoping to catch my baby this weekend but she is awfully smart and very careful. I am not sure she will go into the cage. Wish me luck! We miss her.
post #5 of 20

Here are a couple of helpful hints when trapping.

Instead of tuna, get a can of sardines, the smellier the better. When setting the trap, put a very small amount just outside the trap to get her interested. Put a large amount on a small dish to the very back of the trap, dribble some juice from the can into the trap past the trip switch (the thingy that holds the door open till the cat goes in). This way, if it accidentally closes, she'll be too far from the door to scoot out.

Good luck in trapping your baby!

post #6 of 20
KC - you might also want to drape an old towel or something over the top of the trap so kitty doesn't recongize it right away! Just a suggestion from a friend of mine that traps ferals. If I can help you set it call me up! Gosh it is fun having a catsite buddy live so close by!:tounge2:
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well I haven't seen Sydney for a couple days now. I left the trap out last night and most of the day today but she hasn't been in it. We had to keep our other two cats, Pooh and Whisper, in the house so they wouldn't end up in the trap and boy was Pooh mad!! He thinks he is the "master" around here. He demands to go out, he doesn't ask:tounge2: So I brought the cage in and let him out for a while. I wonder if I am going to have better luck when it gets cold again. Today was over 60 degrees and I don't think it got very cold last night. Do you think she will just hole up somewhere if it is cold...or go in search of food?? I am going to put the cage back out there tonight anyway. Wish me luck!
post #8 of 20
I like the suggestion of putting some of your old clothing that smells like you out there near the trap - maybe that will help?
post #9 of 20
She has just gone to ground and is probably scared. I can only tell you to do what has worked for me. Find an old raggedy sweat shirt that you don't care what happens to it and put it on. Do a massive workout in it, i mean get it wringing wet with your sweat. Take it off, turn it inside out and put it where you know you saw her last. If you have had her for 3 years, she will want the comfort of your smell and she will go to it. She isn't declawed is she? I would guess you have a feral tom nearby and she smelled him and even though she is fixed, she still has the instinct. I would leave food out for her but not a lot, and gradually bring the food and sweatshirt closer to your door. If you see her, immediately sit down on the ground and call to her, don't look her in the eyes, just call to her, wiggle a stick, snap your fingers, whatever works. When she gets close, just carefully reach out and slowly grab her. I have 22 cats and this method has always worked for me when one of mine wanders off the land.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
My baby is home. Thanks to everyone and your suggestions. The first night we had the trap I had a can of cat food in it (because Sydney never liked tuna) and that didn't work...Last night I took Donna's advice and bought some sardines. When my husband and I went into the edge of the woods to set the trap with the sardines I heard Sydney meow. I was pretty sure she smelled the fish. Well tonight my husband checked the trap and she was in it. She was never a big cat. Barely weighed 8lbs. She is so skinny now that I am worried!! I spoke to my vet a few days ago and she told me that when we got her back we would probably want to get her wormed. I will call them first thing tomorrow and see if I should bring her in but for tonight I don't know what to do about feeding her. She finished off the sardines while in the cage but I don't know if I should open some canned food or if she will gorge herself and make herself sick. Any suggestions??? She seems to be a little weak. She struggled at first to jump up on my bed and she is meowing constantly but doesn't seem to be too afraid . Very affectionate..I think she is happy to be home but unsure of what to do with herself. Please reply as soon as possible. I will call the vet in the morning but want some advice tonight if possible. I have her in my room and have blocked the other two out because our other female immediately hissed at her when she came in. Agghhh! She better get over that quick!! Sydney has seniority!!
post #11 of 20
I would go and get her some baby food, chicken or turkey and feed her that. She sounds like she is in shock, which is common when a house cat gets a taste of the world. I would just feed her and love her, make sure she is drinking - drip some sardine juice in her water to entice her and just let her know she is safe. Good job! Can she handle being held? Put a dry towel in the dryer tumble it for a few minutes to get it warm and just wrap her up gently and sit and hold her for a few minutes, unless a cat gets freaky about being wrapped in a towel, this can be very comforting to them, and the warmth adds to the comfort. I am so glad you trapped her!
post #12 of 20
I am so very happy that Sydney is home. Good news tonight!
The others are hissing because she smells different now. They will become used to each other again in a few days.

HERE IS A WELCOME HOME PARTY FOR SYDNEY! - MAY SHE NEVER STRAY AGAIN!:tounge2: :tounge2: :tounge2: :blossom: :chicken: :chicken: :girlie: :eye&mouth :egypt: :homer: he even came......
:laughing: :flash: :flash:
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am happy to report that I took Sydney to the vet yesterday and she is doing quite well. Her weight dropped from 8.6lbs to 6.2lbs and she is dehydrated but she didn't have worms and her bloodwork and x-ray came back good. Of course it cost me $150 but she is worth it!! We are keeping her isolated in our bedroom for a while. She is quite lovable but still wants to just eat and eat. It is tempting to overfeed her because she has such a pathetic meow but I know I can't. This morning while I was petting her I notice a bump onder her chin. Guess what?? A Tick!!! Gross!! It was right under her jaw so the vet hadn't noticed it. but I got it out. I want to thank everyone here again for the suggestions. She doesn't like to be held or wrapped in a towel but when I placed her on top of a warm towel and draped it over her she fell right asleep. She seems quite happy to be home. The vet told me that the reason she left was definitely not physical, it was psychological!!! Hahaha...how much is a cat therapist?? :laughing2 :laughing2 :laughing2
post #14 of 20
I'm soooooo glad she's back and doing so well. I have to agree with the vet about her leaving being psychological. I say this because she is a very anxious cat. As long as she is inside where she knows everything is safe she is okay. But when she was outside, the natural wariness that an outside cat needs went into overdrive because of her anxious personality. Then, because she was in overdrive, any little sound or movement near your house triggered blind panic....she couldn't think "oh yeah, they're the nice people I live with" when in a panic. So....because of her anxious personality and the likelihood that this panic will overrule her logic, I think it would be safest to keep her inside from now on. Just my 2 cents worth!
post #15 of 20
Janice - i will come and therapy her up for a cup of coffee...
post #16 of 20
whew ... I was reading all the posts just stressing ..
finally the one with the good news ... oh my goodness
what a time you have had .. your heart must be so glad
those dear animals need us so very much ... I am so proud
of you and all your effort .. what a gal what a gal ...
a big long sweet meow to you and yours ... at the moment
I am priviledged to be enjoying the wonders of a new kitten
from the shelter ... gosh but she does my soul good ..
I have this big smile each and every time I watch her play
and run and do all those kitten antics ... lol ....
my big girl cat is coming along .. they exchanged sniffs ...
you know where ... the offical sniff and welcome to the home ..
I laughed and laughed .. enjoy your homecoming ...
peace to all ... firebrand from Canada ...
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am happy to say that Sydney is doing quite well. The vet wanted to see her back after a week to check her weight again. He expected her to gain about 1/2 a pound by then. Well she gained 1.4 lbs and is doing very well. We started letting her out of our room and I was a little worried about our other two cats. Every time Sydney saw our male (Pooh) she hissed at him but she held her ground. (He used to chase her around a lot) He hasn't bothered her at all since she has been home. Sydney isn't taking any crap from either cat and I am happy about that. I am not entirely sure it wasn't Pooh that scared her off in the first place. She is still a bit skinny but she is getting there. She has not shown any interest in going outside and I hope it stays that way. Thanks again for everyones help and support.
post #18 of 20

Glad to hear Sydney is back.
post #19 of 20
Janice - thanks for the update. Now that Sydney is settling in - you need to jump in on other topics here!
:chicken: :chicken: :chicken: :chicken: :chicken:
(I just love that chicken)
post #20 of 20
Hi there,

I was just reading through this Thread. How's your kitty doing? Is she staying home?

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