And Just Like That: Poof! She Got Out. Now She's Gone. Is There A Chance In Heck She'll Come Back?

DesertKitty

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I moved into my mom's mobile home about a year and half ago. The previous company that owned the park allowed anyone that wanted to get a hold of traps and eliminate the park's stray cats and other critters. This policy was entirely unethical and totally illegal. Sadly we lost several of our own cats due to this negligent, inhumane policy. The current park ownership thankfully has a legal TNR policy in place, a lead trapper and designated feeders throughout the park. I'm a designated feeder who leaves food out for the cats in my immediate area, the majority of which have been fixed. I also have my own cats, who stay inside and don't ever go out.

The week of Christmas this last year, a kitten joined my troop of regular feeders outside. I instantly identified her as a warrior based on her ability to barge in and get to eating before the adult cats could even make it to the bowls. She hung out with my regulars for a while then one day just walked through the door into the house. I can't say that what transpired immediately afterward was exactly smooth and calm. As one can imagine, she was very frightened and had to be handled with great patience and care that day and throughout the following weeks. New to the semi-feral world of community cat feeding, I committed myself to protecting her the very moment she entered and decided to provide her with a permanent safe haven thereafter. The next several months I worked diligently on researching how to best acclimate a cat from outside to a new home with existing feline residents. I set up a room just for her and used gradual food release and the use of treats as reinforcement to gain her trust. I provided plenty of socialization, toys and played with her daily. We worked on litter box skills and built what I believe to be a loving rapport with one another. I introduced her to the permanent residents in the house gradually using pheromone plug-ins to help ease the transition, which worked really well in time. Even my cantankerous old elder statesman growled at her less and began touching noses with her this last few weeks. Fleas became a household issue, which we worked through with veterinary guidance. She got her first vet visit and did extremely well health-wise. We discussed getting her chipped and fixed in June. These last few first weeks of April she gained permanent access to the main living area, got her own cat tree and began eating with the existing troop in the kitchen, all while building trust with the other cats, one of which has become a steadfast playmate. Things were going extremely well and I was very pleased the other cats accepted her calmly as one of the family in their own time at a reasonable pace.

Needless to say, I still feed my main group outside, one of which is a newly fixed little ginger. She's an absolute doll but extremely needy. She follows me around like a puppy dog outside, constantly begging for my attention. My kitten looked to her for nurturing in the absence of her own mother, which was quite sweet to see before joining my indoor family. She's taken to sitting outside of the front screen door regularly meowing her head off but also has the habit of clawing at the front window screen for attention, which has become problematic. I've been extremely vigilant at keeping the kitten safely in doors at all time. We had a system where I would shake her treat bag if I needed her to go into her room for safety while I attended to other things in the household that required an opened door. She was so good! No coaxing needed, and at times she would run back to her room of her own accord. Last night as I watching TV the ginger cat was at the window screen again, clawing as she usually does - only this time the window was slid back, providing no barrier. It's starting to heat up here and I wanted to let some cool air in. The kitten loves to sit on the window sills and the ginger is an old pal of her's so their interaction at the window is not unusual. What was unusual was around 10 - 11 last night the kitten went AWAL. I remember seeing her at the bedroom door and then when I didn't see her later assumed she had gone under the bed where it's cool. Only after spending the entire evening scouring every corner of every room in the house and balling my eyes out in despair did I realize that she had gotten out - and it wasn't through an opened door. The ginger cat had pulled on the screen enough to separate it from its frame, which allowed a space just large enough for the kitten to push through. She made it through the opening with absolute stealth right under my nose. And poof! Just like that - she was gone. It's been a bit more than 24 hours and I have not seen her since.

I'm gutted. Emotionally devastated. My heart is in pieces. I'm still in shock that she's gone - and utterly disgraced that it was my own lack of judgement and oversight when it came to the window screen a mere 24 hours ago - that lead to her escape. I understood that when I took this kitten into my home there would be challenges and many learning curves. I met them, addressed them and got educated every step of the way. Things were never perfect but were going so well considering my first time at this and her own newness to the situation. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would lose her. I was extremely vigilant with my door policy but never blinked when it came to the flimsy tin frames of an aged mobile home - the very vehicle that lead to her subsequent uncerimonious exit, on my watch. Three months of careful planning, due diligence, making some mistakes, correcting where I could, making a home for a glorious little spirit that I instantly pledged a life of love and devotion to were gone in that merciless instant. And the pit in my stomach over it hasn't gone away. I understand a rational approach is best, but I love her, so equal if not greater shares of fear and worry prevail.

I guess I'm here to ask the veteran stray / feral / community cat people here - or anyone that's been through this and can weigh in - what the chances are of her returning and if there's a varifiable time line. There's so many variables my head is spinning. I got her as a 5 - 7 week old kitten and I'm the only in - depth human experience she's ever known. That said, I've bonded with her and to a limited extent, so have my cats. But does that extend to her? She got the best of the best from me in terms of feeding and socialization, but now that she's outside again, there's feeders all over the park so if she reverts back to wandering and doesn't come back she won't necessarily starve. She'll have to go back to competing with other cats though. (Unfortunately, a bunch of neighbors around my house have installed those annoying sound censors to protect their decks and property, which may make returning to the house utterly terrifying if she triggers the lights). So will she miss all of the other domestic trappings I provided enough to come back, or does a kitten like her who came into my home partially wild revert back to their original habits in a case like this? Which leads to the other overwhelming concern, which is her age. A friend mentioned she may be in heat. She's about 15 weeks old at this point. The vet recommended I bring her in to be fixed and chipped in June. I saw no overt signs of heat, but that doesn't mean she isn't feeling the call. Unfortunately there's at least 3 toms that roam the neighborhood and at least one of my outdoor clients has already been impregnated. I'm terrified that if she doesn't succomb to sickness or hungry coyotes first, she'll end up the victim a pregnancy loop that may not end for her any time soon. I also need guidance on how - if there's a hope and a prayer of her return - to get her back. Early this morning and later at dusk and this evening I walked up and down my street and the two adjacent to us shaking her treat bag and calling her name. I also placed her cleaned litter box on the front porch and her blanket on the chair. I want to leave an aromatic meal like sardines or tuna out for her but that's a problem due to the other cats I feed, who instantly devour whatever is placed around the property. I also let a neighbor and the TNR team leader know she escaped so they can be on watch for her. Other than these measures, I feel completely defeated and totally impotent. I go to the door and windows constantly thinking I hear her mew, only to find its the ginger begging for my attention at the front door or the wind mocking me by playing sound tricks. Please let me know what else I can do other than post flyers (not optimal in my situation) and what I can expect based on your experience in cases like this. I'm lost at sea, incredibly worried for her, and deathly afraid I'll never get my precious little Christmas cat back home again. The summer is around the corner with its astronimcal temperatures, which I know will be extremely hard on her while vying for food outside. Thanks in advance for your kind input. Prayers for her safe swift return are welcome and greatly appreciated.
 

tabbytom

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Please let me know what else I can do other than post flyers (not optimal in my situation) and what I can expect based on your experience in cases like this. I'm lost at sea, incredibly worried for her, and deathly afraid I'll never get my precious little Christmas cat back home again. The summer is around the corner with its astronimcal temperatures, which I know will be extremely hard on her while vying for food outside. Thanks in advance for your kind input. Prayers for her safe swift return are welcome and greatly appreciated.
:hellosmiley: and welcome to TCS!

Thank you for being a part of taking care of Strays and Feral kitties in your community.

I guess that something may have spooked the kitten and made her find a way out. What you are doing is correct in looking for her. At this moment, she may be too afraid to come out even though she knows it's you. She could be just hiding very nearby but just don't give up looking for her. Carry a torch with you when you ;look for her in the dark especially in low lying crevices or drains as light from the torch will light up her eyes.

Since she's been fed by you, she may hang around and come back for food unless it's like she's been starved for more than one two days, she may look for food elsewhere as there are also other feeders around.

Hopefully nothing tragic has happened to her or else she should be just round the corner. Don't give up and we hope you'll find her soon.

Sending hope and prayers to you and the kitten and we'll be here for you

f8b6da4abd7dbe1fcd1ad109c3d0d85b-2.jpg
 
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DesertKitty

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:hellosmiley: and welcome to TCS!

Thank you for being a part of taking care of Strays and Feral kitties in your community.

I guess that something may have spooked the kitten and made her find a way out. What you are doing is correct in looking for her. At this moment, she may be too afraid to come out even though she knows it's you. She could be just hiding very nearby but just don't give up looking for her. Carry a torch with you when you ;look for her in the dark especially in low lying crevices or drains as light from the torch will light up her eyes.

Since she's been fed by you, she may hang around and come back for food unless it's like she's been starved for more than one two days, she may look for food elsewhere as there are also other feeders around.

Hopefully nothing tragic has happened to her or else she should be just round the corner. Don't give up and we hope you'll find her soon.

Sending hope and prayers to you and the kitten and we'll be here for you

View attachment 474163
Thank you so very much! I appreciate your support and suggestions! XO
 

poolcat

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Hi DesertKitty... I'm so very sorry your kitten escaped, and can imagine how distressed you are.

I've read in various places that putting a missing cat's litter box out is not a good idea, because it can attract predators. Dirty Kitty Litter : A Questionable Cause Fallacy

Have you asked your neighbors to keep an eye out for her, and to call you if they see her? Maybe provide them with a little of her favorite food to give her. It might keep her occupied until you get there.

Five months seems a little young to be in heat, but if (when!) she does become pregnant she will be even more likely to look for food. She may start going back to where you feed the other ferals, so setting up a wildlife camera would allow you to monitor that location.

I can't think of anything else right now. Hopefully others here will have some suggestions.
 
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DesertKitty

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Hi poolcat. Thank you for responding. Indeed. I'm quite distraught and feel somewhat helpless. I've also read the pros and cons of leaving the litter box outside. Since the majority of cats I feed are fixed I'm not too worried about it. It's easy to bring inside if I discover in time that it's not helping. I have alerted several neighbors and will be posting her photo to our digital message board. I'm surprised she hasn't returned yet but all cats are unique. She was born outside and cats are naturally curious so I'm not surprised that she jumped at the opportunity? It's the worry over not knowing where she is or what's going on with her that really devastates. Is she hiding in bushes somewhere within range of my voice terrified to come out or has she found new wings and wandered so far away that she's resorted to eating elsewhere and can't find her way back? Is she going to return soon in completely find shape as if nothing happened or linger starving until she's forced to return emaciated and desperate? These questions and many others haunt me. I want her to be safe at home so badly. I miss her terribly, I agree that she's young to be in heat. I think it's the born outside part of her that lead her to stray, along with innate feline curiosity. I've thought of installing a camera system of some kind. I need to find something that I can set up on multiple sides of the property that is easy to set up or have set up. I hope the next time I'm able to post here I have good news to report! Until then, all I can do is walk down the neighborhood streets with her treat bag and call to her. The quest continues. She escaped Thursday night the 11th and now it's the morning of the 13th so it's been over 24 hours since I've seen her. : o (
 
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DesertKitty

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I'm kind of disappointed that my post isn't receiving more input. I appreciate the responses I've received thus far, but there's nowhere near the amount of feedback I've seen on other posts. I was hoping to receive more input. Guess my post hasn't been up long enough. I'll wait, but the clock is ticking...and at this very moment in time she's not home safe and I'm sick with worry.
 

Kwik

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Sorry you're not getting the responses you've hoped for and though I'm very sorry for you loss I wasn't going to reply myself or maybe just to let you know I am praying for your kitty's safe return as I've no doubt that others are too ,even if they have not replied

It's anyone's guess so its hagd to know what to say , the most experienced of us cannot give you a timeline of any kind - the very best we can do to encourage you is to say" don't give up" - keep searching,set up traps,put up flyers,posters,cameras and pray

Cats have wandered off never to return and some show up,days,weeks,months and even years later. There's no way of knowing anything once they are out the door.....

The good thing about your little community is that there are folks feeding and she's used to humans providing her food so that's hopeful- make sure everyone thst feeds knows she has a home and you're looking for her- give everyone her photo with your phone number on it

I wish you the best and keep us updated
 

fionasmom

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How to find a lost cat
Help! My Cat Is Lost! [Step By Step Guidance To Find Your Beloved Kitty] - TheCatSite
Lost Cat Behavior
Found missing cat but she ran away
How To Find a Lost Cat | Petco Love Lost
Lost Cat Troubleshooting
Tips for finding a lost cat

These are some resources that may help you. You will find that advice overlaps in most cases. One of the most lengthy threads about a missing cat (meaning the cat was out in the area for a long time) ended when the owner was able to coax her into a trap baited with Kentucky Fried Chicken, which happens to be my bait of choice. Given your situation, I don't know if this is feasible. It is possible to set a trap by propping up the door with a stick or soda bottle and watching for the cat to enter and then pull the string. This will prevent you from trapping every other cat or wildlife in the area. Cameras are a good ideas if you can get them set up.
 

neurorehabcat7

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I moved into my mom's mobile home about a year and half ago. The previous company that owned the park allowed anyone that wanted to get a hold of traps and eliminate the park's stray cats and other critters. This policy was entirely unethical and totally illegal. Sadly we lost several of our own cats due to this negligent, inhumane policy. The current park ownership thankfully has a legal TNR policy in place, a lead trapper and designated feeders throughout the park. I'm a designated feeder who leaves food out for the cats in my immediate area, the majority of which have been fixed. I also have my own cats, who stay inside and don't ever go out.

The week of Christmas this last year, a kitten joined my troop of regular feeders outside. I instantly identified her as a warrior based on her ability to barge in and get to eating before the adult cats could even make it to the bowls. She hung out with my regulars for a while then one day just walked through the door into the house. I can't say that what transpired immediately afterward was exactly smooth and calm. As one can imagine, she was very frightened and had to be handled with great patience and care that day and throughout the following weeks. New to the semi-feral world of community cat feeding, I committed myself to protecting her the very moment she entered and decided to provide her with a permanent safe haven thereafter. The next several months I worked diligently on researching how to best acclimate a cat from outside to a new home with existing feline residents. I set up a room just for her and used gradual food release and the use of treats as reinforcement to gain her trust. I provided plenty of socialization, toys and played with her daily. We worked on litter box skills and built what I believe to be a loving rapport with one another. I introduced her to the permanent residents in the house gradually using pheromone plug-ins to help ease the transition, which worked really well in time. Even my cantankerous old elder statesman growled at her less and began touching noses with her this last few weeks. Fleas became a household issue, which we worked through with veterinary guidance. She got her first vet visit and did extremely well health-wise. We discussed getting her chipped and fixed in June. These last few first weeks of April she gained permanent access to the main living area, got her own cat tree and began eating with the existing troop in the kitchen, all while building trust with the other cats, one of which has become a steadfast playmate. Things were going extremely well and I was very pleased the other cats accepted her calmly as one of the family in their own time at a reasonable pace.

Needless to say, I still feed my main group outside, one of which is a newly fixed little ginger. She's an absolute doll but extremely needy. She follows me around like a puppy dog outside, constantly begging for my attention. My kitten looked to her for nurturing in the absence of her own mother, which was quite sweet to see before joining my indoor family. She's taken to sitting outside of the front screen door regularly meowing her head off but also has the habit of clawing at the front window screen for attention, which has become problematic. I've been extremely vigilant at keeping the kitten safely in doors at all time. We had a system where I would shake her treat bag if I needed her to go into her room for safety while I attended to other things in the household that required an opened door. She was so good! No coaxing needed, and at times she would run back to her room of her own accord. Last night as I watching TV the ginger cat was at the window screen again, clawing as she usually does - only this time the window was slid back, providing no barrier. It's starting to heat up here and I wanted to let some cool air in. The kitten loves to sit on the window sills and the ginger is an old pal of her's so their interaction at the window is not unusual. What was unusual was around 10 - 11 last night the kitten went AWAL. I remember seeing her at the bedroom door and then when I didn't see her later assumed she had gone under the bed where it's cool. Only after spending the entire evening scouring every corner of every room in the house and balling my eyes out in despair did I realize that she had gotten out - and it wasn't through an opened door. The ginger cat had pulled on the screen enough to separate it from its frame, which allowed a space just large enough for the kitten to push through. She made it through the opening with absolute stealth right under my nose. And poof! Just like that - she was gone. It's been a bit more than 24 hours and I have not seen her since.

I'm gutted. Emotionally devastated. My heart is in pieces. I'm still in shock that she's gone - and utterly disgraced that it was my own lack of judgement and oversight when it came to the window screen a mere 24 hours ago - that lead to her escape. I understood that when I took this kitten into my home there would be challenges and many learning curves. I met them, addressed them and got educated every step of the way. Things were never perfect but were going so well considering my first time at this and her own newness to the situation. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would lose her. I was extremely vigilant with my door policy but never blinked when it came to the flimsy tin frames of an aged mobile home - the very vehicle that lead to her subsequent uncerimonious exit, on my watch. Three months of careful planning, due diligence, making some mistakes, correcting where I could, making a home for a glorious little spirit that I instantly pledged a life of love and devotion to were gone in that merciless instant. And the pit in my stomach over it hasn't gone away. I understand a rational approach is best, but I love her, so equal if not greater shares of fear and worry prevail.

I guess I'm here to ask the veteran stray / feral / community cat people here - or anyone that's been through this and can weigh in - what the chances are of her returning and if there's a varifiable time line. There's so many variables my head is spinning. I got her as a 5 - 7 week old kitten and I'm the only in - depth human experience she's ever known. That said, I've bonded with her and to a limited extent, so have my cats. But does that extend to her? She got the best of the best from me in terms of feeding and socialization, but now that she's outside again, there's feeders all over the park so if she reverts back to wandering and doesn't come back she won't necessarily starve. She'll have to go back to competing with other cats though. (Unfortunately, a bunch of neighbors around my house have installed those annoying sound censors to protect their decks and property, which may make returning to the house utterly terrifying if she triggers the lights). So will she miss all of the other domestic trappings I provided enough to come back, or does a kitten like her who came into my home partially wild revert back to their original habits in a case like this? Which leads to the other overwhelming concern, which is her age. A friend mentioned she may be in heat. She's about 15 weeks old at this point. The vet recommended I bring her in to be fixed and chipped in June. I saw no overt signs of heat, but that doesn't mean she isn't feeling the call. Unfortunately there's at least 3 toms that roam the neighborhood and at least one of my outdoor clients has already been impregnated. I'm terrified that if she doesn't succomb to sickness or hungry coyotes first, she'll end up the victim a pregnancy loop that may not end for her any time soon. I also need guidance on how - if there's a hope and a prayer of her return - to get her back. Early this morning and later at dusk and this evening I walked up and down my street and the two adjacent to us shaking her treat bag and calling her name. I also placed her cleaned litter box on the front porch and her blanket on the chair. I want to leave an aromatic meal like sardines or tuna out for her but that's a problem due to the other cats I feed, who instantly devour whatever is placed around the property. I also let a neighbor and the TNR team leader know she escaped so they can be on watch for her. Other than these measures, I feel completely defeated and totally impotent. I go to the door and windows constantly thinking I hear her mew, only to find its the ginger begging for my attention at the front door or the wind mocking me by playing sound tricks. Please let me know what else I can do other than post flyers (not optimal in my situation) and what I can expect based on your experience in cases like this. I'm lost at sea, incredibly worried for her, and deathly afraid I'll never get my precious little Christmas cat back home again. The summer is around the corner with its astronimcal temperatures, which I know will be extremely hard on her while vying for food outside. Thanks in advance for your kind input. Prayers for her safe swift return are welcome and greatly appreciated.
Anyone happen to have video door bell? Ring has a social site called neighbors. Join it and ask if anybody in your area caught her on surveillance. You'll need to give pretty detailed address info and post a picture
Post her on pawboost and lostmykitty to get some action
 
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