Cat has been in the heating vent for two days, not eating or drinking.

Parktaejoon

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A few days ago, I left to travel across the country for a short holiday, no more than five days. On late Monday night, I received a text from my roommate (let's call her T) who is sitting my two cats. One of my cats, Mila, has crawled up into the central heating system and has apparently not come out for the whole of Tuesday and Wednesday. Our home city has been in the middle of a heatwave the whole time.

T put out water and food near the vent, but apparently neither have been touched. She has been shining her phone flashlight into the vent trying to see if my cat is in there anymore. No luck. I'm worried she might have crawled deeper in. She checked tonight and inside the vent, there is this hole.

IMG_20220622_225914.jpg


We live in a multi-level triplex house. There is a floor below us. I am worried that Mila might have crawled down this hole and gotten stuck between our floor and the neighbours' ceiling. I don't know how low the hole drops... That's only one guess that we have.

Whatever the case is, T has said there's no sign of my cat (though they are both shy and avoid her, this is still unusual and nerve breaking because she SAW my cat go into the vent on Monday night). My other cat is apparently still in my room, she can tell that the litter usage is for a single cat and that he has been eating and drinking his share of food and water. But Mila has been MIA.

At this point I can't afford any flight home and have to wait until my flight tomorrow night. And even then I don't land home until the next day, at 8am. That's basically another two days that my girl could be stuck in there.

I'm anxious and regretting the decision to ever travel. I wish I was there with my cats right now. I don't want to think about the possibility that I have to come home and do a funeral for Mila.

They've never done this before. I went to NYC for a week and it was just fine. I just changed out my bedframe to one they couldn't hide under all the time, hoping to make them more confident in exploring their new house (we moved into this apartment in April so they've been hiding every time someone walks by the room), but I am now thinking that all it's done is jeopardise my cat's life. I can't enjoy the rest of my trip and I can't get home... I don't know what to do.

I tried to prevent this because I knew she was curious about the heater. I covered the entrance to the heating system with textbooks before I left, but apparently she shoved them out of the way to get into it. Then my roommate put a box under it; my cats tore it apart to get in. T tried duct taping the whole opening next; Mila tore it all off to jump into the hole.

T has heard no crying or sounds from Mila. She hasn't seen Mila in the vent. Mila hasn't eaten or drunk water.... I am so afraid of what is going to happen and if I can even do anything when I get back home.

Has anyone experienced this? What happened? How long was your day able to stay alive? Please give me something, anything. I'm desperate to find a solution. I don't care if the answer is positive or negative... So long as it points me somewhere, anywhere.
 

Margot Lane

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Plumbers have ”snake cameras” they can get waaay into places like this. Are you afraid to call an authority b/c it is a triplex? Are others in the building alerted to this situation? Is the caretaker a helpful person?
 
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Parktaejoon

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Plumbers have ”snake cameras” they can get waaay into places like this. Are you afraid to call an authority b/c it is a triplex? Are others in the building alerted to this situation? Is the caretaker a helpful person?
The caretaker is a very helpful person. She has been the one who is giving me all the feedback and checking constantly for my cat. She called me tonight and said that we might have to bust through a wall, but we'll call animal control tomorrow right as it opens and discuss our options...

Maybe a plumber will be in the picture, or the animal control people will have some. I will ask T tomorrow if she can check with our neighbours and make them aware. Thank you so much for the reply. We just haven't known what to do because it's par for the course for Mila to make herself hidden for a day or so... We've been trying to be calm, especially me who's always been paranoid and overprotective of my cats. I convinced myself it's all in my head, but my fears have been realised this time. Thank you again for your suggestions... Animal control will open in 12 hours so I will be waiting to call as soon as they do.
 

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Yes, please get the neighbors involved. If there is access to multiple places from where MIla disappeared, food and water could also be placed in those locations as well. If there is a place that she could have escaped to the outdoors, then a whole other search must be made. Outside the triplex, in other budlings/sheds/garages/underneath the homes if there are crawl spaces. Getting flyers made and placed around the neighborhood, door to door visits to inform folks about Mila, and so on.

There is a whole host of ideas about efforts that can be made in the latter section of this TCS article (link below) to help to find a cat should she have gotten outside. The first section discusses tips if there is any remote possibility that she is hiding somewhere in your home and T just doesn't realize it.
Help! My Cat Is Lost! – TheCatSite Articles
 
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Parktaejoon

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I'm so scared. My flight leaves tonight but it will be 12 hours before I'm home tomorrow. Today my attempts to get help just broke my spirits.

I tried getting help from animal control who might have experience to advise me where to go next. But my calls ran into dead ends:

- animal control not picking up, advising to call non emergency police for animals in distress

- police saying call animal control or the fire department

- fire department saying they can't do anything

- I told my landlord that perhaps a maintenance guy could have equipment to get into that hole and look around inside to see if she is in there or where it goes. I told him "however it is an emergency given the heatwave... She hasn't eaten or drunk water in two days. I'm afraid if left until tomorrow, she could die in there." His reply to that was a cut off text that just says "I don" and I've been waiting ten minutes to hear back from him... He has been incredibly nonchalant about this whole thing. I'm hanging onto hope that he has something useful to say.

My baby girl is one of my two furry soulmates alongside her brother. She helped me live when I was at my lowest. If I lost her, especially in such a careless way, I don't know what I would do.
 
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Parktaejoon

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Update with landlords reply:

"Im sorry to hear it. Typical of the city. I would try them all again if you think it would help. I don't have a maintenance person myself unfortunately who could help. I can go look like I have mentioned a few times if you would like. I am not sure how I can help, but I can try. Maybe it leads to the basement and can look under the house to see if I see anything. If you can't get the city to help, you would need to contact a private party who can help with this. I am sure animal control or other animal services would be able to point you to someone who does this kind of thing. Just FYI it has not been hot yesterday and today. Just the day before. Keep me posted."
 

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Not exactly knowing the size or layout of the heating duct……could you send down a snack on a string? Can she get up it again or is it too slippery? (If she can get up is it possible to leave a treat by the duct?) .Could you create a “ladder” for her out of— a strip of carpet? Whose wall would you be busting through? If it’s not your wall is the person an animal lover? Are there any gadgety, nerdy, tech guys you know (or websites related) w/ these cameras on a snake? (Are they affordable…I have no idea, could you buy one?). Sometimes when you call say a fireman they will say no, but if you go in person they cave. Have you tried all animal shelter places and plumbers in your vicinity? (I am sure you have thought of all of this…just thinking outside the box here, but every septic guy worth his salt has one of these cameras). Personally I’d call a septic guy…if they can use a camera in those tiny clogged lines, they can definitely use it in a heating duct.
 

Margot Lane

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PS: photo is very tantalizing b/c it almost looks as if you could sawzall away part of the floor and crawl in yourself! Do you have any skinny acrobatic friends?
 

Margot Lane

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Sorry: just trying to keep your spirits up…are you and/or below neighbors prepared to cut a hole in their ceiling? I also just Googled, and it says cats can live 1-2 weeks w/out food or water, so there is some hope there.
 

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My recent rescue lived for 5 days with no food or water when someone tried to dispose of her by locking her in a storage closet in an apartment. She was in decent condition when she was found although needed a vet visit.
Try to hire someone. AC usually is not that helpful with personal pets. I wonder if a home inspector would do it. The PD and FD are not likely to help either. What about an exterminator or humane animal removal company? Of course both of them would hand your cat back to you if they found her.
 

Margot Lane

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My recent rescue lived for 5 days with no food or water when someone tried to dispose of her by locking her in a storage closet in an apartment. She was in decent condition when she was found although needed a vet visit.
Try to hire someone. AC usually is not that helpful with personal pets. I wonder if a home inspector would do it. The PD and FD are not likely to help either. What about an exterminator or humane animal removal company? Of course both of them would hand your cat back to you if they found her.
…not to change the thread, but “dispose of her?!” I am glad that ended on a happy note, and I am fervently glad she ended up with you. ❤
 

BoaztheAdventureCat

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Yikes! I'm so sorry! Praying for you and your cat! The others present some good ideas here; I'm learning a lot! Maybe you should try setting some cat traps next to your vent and around the outside of your house?
 

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A few days ago, I left to travel across the country for a short holiday, no more than five days. On late Monday night, I received a text from my roommate (let's call her T) who is sitting my two cats. One of my cats, Mila, has crawled up into the central heating system and has apparently not come out for the whole of Tuesday and Wednesday. Our home city has been in the middle of a heatwave the whole time.

T put out water and food near the vent, but apparently neither have been touched. She has been shining her phone flashlight into the vent trying to see if my cat is in there anymore. No luck. I'm worried she might have crawled deeper in. She checked tonight and inside the vent, there is this hole.
Plumbers have ”snake cameras” they can get waaay into places like this.
Hi P Parktaejoon ...I hope your Mila comes back soon. :crossfingers: :alright::hugs::grouphug:

Your thread reminds me of another similar thread...from earlier this year...so I am just going to 'copy and paste' my reply from there...and add on to the good advice from the other members.

This is the link to that thread, for further ideas:
lost cat in the house

If you can buy or rent your own borescope inspection camera,...or hire a plumber, drain repair, or electrician with...that 'snake camera/borescope/endoscopic cameras for walls'...as Margot Lane Margot Lane ...already mentioned, then that may be very useful to you.
They can be bought on amazon, some home depot or lowes stores, and perhaps even electronic stores, may carry them.
---------------------------------
1. Along with the ideas of putting out food like strong smelling sardines, or tuna...KFC..

2. Have you tried looking into the hole...with a mirror and flashlight...?
You would be looking for the 'eye-shine of the cat's eyes'....reflected back to you.

***3. Try using this recording...of a mama cat calling her kittens....see post #5:
I need a sound recording of mom cat "trumpeting" call for kittens
(huge shout of thanks to our member @ Norachan...for posting this idea...from a previous thread)

4. Other useful tips and ideas are here...
Tips for finding a lost cat
I especially like the tip of using neon signs...at crossroads...to get more attention to your lost cat...outdoors.

5. This thread has helpful ideas...especially the links:
Lost Cat

6. Lastly if you can rent/borrow or buy an electrician or plumber's 'endoscope or boroscope,'...'inspection camera,' to look into the walls and inaccessible places, that may help, in locating her.
Amazon.com : Borescopes
Amazon.com : endoscope camera with light
All the Luck...sent your way....in finding your Mila cat. :goodluck::vibes::vibes::tabbycat: :crossfingers: 🙏 :bluepaw::greenpaw:
 

Alldara

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There's the chance that she is eating bugs or small rodents as well. Those do contain water.

When she comes back, you can get anti scat matt from Amazon and put around the vent in a box shape. (I say when and remain hopeful!)
 
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