Found missing cat but she ran away

Worriedaboutscaredycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
14
Purraise
42
Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Sorry I don't know if this is the right place to post this. After 6 weeks, today we finally located our missing cat. She was in a bushy area next to a car park, 500m from home . We were with her for three hours trying to get her to come to us and get into the carrier or trap. She would get close put half her body in the trap/ carrier and then bolt back into the bush she was hiding in. Eventually she came out and my boyfriend in a panic grabbed her. She hates being picked up and started to bite and stratch him. When trying to get her into the carrier she managed to wiggle free and run back into the bush. We searched for hours afterwards but couldn't see any signs of her. When we first found her and started calling for her she would meow everytime she heard her name, but after she ran off, nothing. The trap remains untouched hours later. If she somehow managed to leave the area will she come back? The people who called us said they been seeing her for around 2 weeks. she did come out and eat the food given to her and we even managed to pet her a bit. Any tips on catching her now we frightened her? We have a cat she grew up with, who walks on a leash. I don't know also if he be able to help locating and catching her. I just wish I could get her home.
 

CatladyJan

<><
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
2,131
Purraise
5,696
Sorry I don't know if this is the right place to post this. After 6 weeks, today we finally located our missing cat. She was in a bushy area next to a car park, 500m from home . We were with her for three hours trying to get her to come to us and get into the carrier or trap. She would get close put half her body in the trap/ carrier and then bolt back into the bush she was hiding in. Eventually she came out and my boyfriend in a panic grabbed her. She hates being picked up and started to bite and stratch him. When trying to get her into the carrier she managed to wiggle free and run back into the bush. We searched for hours afterwards but couldn't see any signs of her. When we first found her and started calling for her she would meow everytime she heard her name, but after she ran off, nothing. The trap remains untouched hours later. If she somehow managed to leave the area will she come back? The people who called us said they been seeing her for around 2 weeks. she did come out and eat the food given to her and we even managed to pet her a bit. Any tips on catching her now we frightened her? We have a cat she grew up with, who walks on a leash. I don't know also if he be able to help locating and catching her. I just wish I could get her home.
Hi and welcome to TCS! My opinion is that 6 weeks is a long time and the longer she has been out the more she has to fend for herself. She is likely still in the area you tried to grab her, but she is very upset and scared and likely hiding. If she is being fed she is not going to go into a trap unless she is very hungry.

I suggest you be much more patient so as to not startle her anymore. When you go to set out the trap cover it and use something from home that she might recognize. You then need to wait and if she doesn't get into the trap please don't leave it there overnight as she or any other animal could be attacked by predators. Also, use some really stinky food.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4

Worriedaboutscaredycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
14
Purraise
42
Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Hi and welcome to TCS! My opinion is that 6 weeks is a long time and the longer she has been out the more she has to fend for herself. She is likely still in the area you tried to grab her, but she is very upset and scared and likely hiding. If she is being fed she is not going to go into a trap unless she is very hungry.

I suggest you be much more patient so as to not startle her anymore. When you go to set out the trap cover it and use something from home that she might recognize. You then need to wait and if she doesn't get into the trap please don't leave it there overnight as she or any other animal could be attacked by predators. Also, use some really stinky food.
Hello, thank you so much for the advice and quick response. I was honestly suprised she was still alive and we found her. Six weeks is super long, especially for a cat that been indoor only for the last 3 years. She was born a stray and adopted at 4-5 months. Im not sure if she was being fed. She lost quite a bit of weight( she was slightly overweight before though). In the Netherlands( at least in my area) Most people here seem to believe it is not a good idea to feed stray cats, as they think eitheir the cat belong to someone or will harm local wildlife. And I haven't seen any people who leave food out for cats eitheir. The people who live near there saw her digging in their rubbish once and catching mice nearby, so she getting some food but I'm not sure how much. It light outside now and I've been shining a light and calling her name overnight but with no luck. I not sure if I should just hunker down nearby and wait it out in silence or go home for a few hours and see if the trap catches anything. I've placed some tuna inside and her blanket over the top and hopefully this will lure her out. One thing I used to do everytime I fed her would be to shake the bag before pouring into the metal bowl. After a while whenever she heard her name and the noise she would come running even if she was up in the attic. Would this be a good idea to try out or just freak out her further? I'm terrified to scare her off and out of the area if we haven't already.
 

CatladyJan

<><
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
2,131
Purraise
5,696
Hello, thank you so much for the advice and quick response. I was honestly suprised she was still alive and we found her. Six weeks is super long, especially for a cat that been indoor only for the last 3 years. She was born a stray and adopted at 4-5 months. Im not sure if she was being fed. She lost quite a bit of weight( she was slightly overweight before though). In the Netherlands( at least in my area) Most people here seem to believe it is not a good idea to feed stray cats, as they think eitheir the cat belong to someone or will harm local wildlife. And I haven't seen any people who leave food out for cats eitheir. The people who live near there saw her digging in their rubbish once and catching mice nearby, so she getting some food but I'm not sure how much. It light outside now and I've been shining a light and calling her name overnight but with no luck. I not sure if I should just hunker down nearby and wait it out in silence or go home for a few hours and see if the trap catches anything. I've placed some tuna inside and her blanket over the top and hopefully this will lure her out. One thing I used to do everytime I fed her would be to shake the bag before pouring into the metal bowl. After a while whenever she heard her name and the noise she would come running even if she was up in the attic. Would this be a good idea to try out or just freak out her further? I'm terrified to scare her off and out of the area if we haven't already.
That would be my M.O. when I want to get my cats out I shake the bag.
I know a couple of women who are from the Netherlands and have become US citizens and foster kittens.
I thought strays were thought of more highly in that area.
Anyway, you said she was born a stray and adopted, she's been out there 6 weeks and cats tend to revert to there wild nature to survive. Try the KFC and I wouldn't grab her or try to make sudden moves. Please hang in there as it can take a lot of time and patience. I am delighted that you have found here after all this time and let that give you hope!
 

CarmiesMom

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
269
Purraise
348
Location
Rural North Missouri
I can't think of anything that will entice a cat better than KFC. My cats will kill to get it.
Mine prefer canned tuna or salmon they go nuts when i have a tuna sandwich and if i'm making salmon patties i better have given them a can of food that day or else lol anyway a dirty bra socks undershirt or pillow case with your scent in the trap might help as well look in small tight spaces I teased my Mignon out from under a vacant house using a teaser toy and treats and started to carry him home (cati-cornered one across a vacant lot and up our side yard) when a supped up pick up truck drive by startling him he clawed free and ran back under that house where he felt safe i got a can of food and sat on the porch and waited while he was eating i had my mom grab his carrier and then grabbed him and shoved him in slamming the door but you have to be able to stand being clawed some its part of getting a scared cat in a carrier/trap. I wish you luck.
 

catsknowme

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Messages
11,466
Purraise
6,699
Location
Eastern California,USA
:alright:. Please do not give up. Consider this a lesson in practicing patience and in learning ever more about the cat's mind. The knowledge and understanding that you learn now will be useful in helping others. I offer several suggestions, although it takes considerable time & dedication:
1. Establish a feeding schedule & pattern. Try to stay "under the radar" if mean neighbors are nearby - use soft, calm, low-volume voices. Set up an easel in a close observation area and act like you are drawing or painting so curious people won't be suspicious as to why you're there about the same time & place on a routine basis. Put a bit of food on a tortilla to leave any leftovers if she doesn't show up right away. Also leave a bit of fresh water hidden under a bush. She has established that area as her territory for a reason - likely because there were fewer other cats to drive her off.

2. Disguise a trap and feed in that . Disable the gate by using a strong stick or metal pole to keep the gate from closing. When you leave, pick up the trap and take it with you. Leave only a bit of uneaten food on the tortilla (corn tortilla is less noticeable and more nutritious, IMO) - she will learn to associate your arrival and the trap with food.

3. At home, practice using the trap manually. Use a filled plastic water bottle or Coke bottle to prop open the trap's gate & attach a long pull string to the neck of the bottle. From different distances and angles, try pulling the string and snapping the trap. Once the trap is snapped, practice covering the trap with heavy towels or a blanket as quickly as possible - this covering the trap calms the cat & helps keep it from thrashing about and possibly pulling off a claw or injuring its mouth biting the cage wires; plus it keeps the cat from scratching people. Time yourself & make it fun to learn the skill of trapping.

3. Yes, take your other cat on a leash and let it mark territory on the bushes in the lost cats territory, if it isn't panicking.

4. Try leaving discreet scent markers from your home, especially those that have your lost cat's scent on them, such as toys that she played with.

Please keep us updated about your efforts. Maybe the kind people who alerted you about your cats will help in spotting her & figuring out her routines.
I pray that it all turns out well very soon 💞🙏
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11

Worriedaboutscaredycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
14
Purraise
42
Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
It been about three days since we last saw her and so far no joy. I like to thank everyone for their advice and words of comfort first off. We been leaving the trap during the day, as that was when she was first spotted. Unfourantely I work late or at night, so Ive not been able to come during that time, and I'm asleep quite a lot of the day. I'm not sure if it thus better to leave the trap, or bring it by when we get off work and for a hour or so before we leave for work. We hid the trap under a bush and take it home every night. Suprisngly alot of the time we find the trap closed but the food untouched. I'm not sure how that possible, since it never did that before. We been setting it up since she went missing but nearer our house, and it stayed opened for hours / even days if nothing tried to get inside. So I'm not sure if she trying to get in and triggering the trip plate when she still can get out. We been mostly using KFC but also bringing around cans of tuna.the trap we have is wooden, with two doors on each end. I'm not sure if a wire cage would be a better fit?

I'm also been trying tje bottle method since yesterday with my other cat. I think I getting the hang of it and I will try it out tomorrow and hang around for a few hours. I misunderstood originally, the lady who spotted her is not the lady who actually lives in the house there but rather nearby. the lady from the house did mention she see my cat with another cat but she been quite nasty about it, and yells at us alot for bringing food around as she doesn't want rats to come( not that it possible considering there tons of rats and mice in the area already and we always take the food with us.)

I talked more to the lady who spots her who always walking in that area. She been very lovely and she even tried to help catch our cat that day we spotted her. She mentioned seeing her for over two weeks, from time to time with another cat. I was worried at first but she said that they were sleeping and eating mice together so it seems my girl has made a friend. If we catch her we will probably try to catch the other one at a later date, and we also informed the animal ambulance/ shelter who say they keep a lookout in the area and try to trap any cats that resemble her or the other cat.

I've also taken the our other cat around the area, but he not used to being outside so long and so far from home, as we usually walk him around the block before he ready to come back in. So he hasn't been rubbing up on areas or I'm really glad to have see her after so long. I was hoenstly giving up hope before.

It been a long time filled with alot of pain and stress. At least know we have a general idea of where she may be. I just pray that she has not gone far. The bushes are quite dense, about a metre wide and long. On one side there a car park, and then some bush and an intersection. On the other side there a open field and behind the field is another highway. So there not many areas to hide in of she left the bushes, and she would have to travel quite far to find other shelter. It makes me feel more confident she there or at least I hope she is. This is because I know if she in the area we will spot her eventually.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

Worriedaboutscaredycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
14
Purraise
42
Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Last night, I went with the trap. i heard the door close, but when I went to check, all the food was gone but nothing was inside. Unfourantely as we kept it under a bush, I can't see exactly when the trap is triggered only when I hear the sound. Should I continue to bring the trap every few hours while watching or just leave the trap there for a while? Will she eventually go in full, is there anything I can do to make this happen? During the day nothing happens, but at night the food is gone. The problem is I can't really go too often at night and stay too long there, but I don't want to just leave it overnight eitheir. Our trap also has two exits. I read online it better for the cat to be able to see through so we been using both, but I don't know if it would be better if we close one door and just have one entrance or not.
 

fionasmom

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
13,877
Purraise
18,376
Location
Los Angeles
Do you think that the trap is malfunctioning? I have no experience with wooden traps and have always used a wire one, specifically Havahart. The ones I own have one exit although given that they are wire, the cat can see through them. When necessary, I cover the top, but leave the sides open so that light goes through.

I don't leave traps unattended for very long, just as you are being careful not to do as well. Some of this depends on where the trap is, if the cat would be safe in the trap, could they injure themselves trying to get out, could someone come and bother the trap, etc? I still would not leave the trap set and unattended for a long time though.
 

catsknowme

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Messages
11,466
Purraise
6,699
Location
Eastern California,USA
If the food is gone but the trap gate is closed, it could mean that the gate closes too slowly or is not securing properly. But the encouraging news is that the food is gone every time - somebody is getting used to the trap enough to return repeatedly to eat the food. Most cats avoid a trap after it snaps but over time, the "frequent flyers" are willing to accept the pay off of doing a little time in the trap for a rewarding treat.
There is also the possibility that some uninformed human is tampering with the trap. Thank you for the updates! I wish that we could do a TCS meetup in your area and do trapping as the activity. Maybe a Zoom meeting? It could be fun!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16

Worriedaboutscaredycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
14
Purraise
42
Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
So the good news is she coming out more and more often. Yesterday we saw her pretty frequently. I saw her come out of the bushes a few times yesterday, and now even when I call her name she responds. However she still run away when she sees anyone, she enters the cage super slowly, and leans her neck as far forward as possible and eat the food off the trip plate. This way her bum is still against the door, so the door on that side doesn't close. She avoid the carrier like the plague even with all the food inside. I'm looking into getting another trap one that is much longer so she have to walk all the way in to get to the food. The problem with this I can only find two models for sale here, one is the cage we currently have and other has a steel door trap that scares me might hurt her. Everything else seems to take a long time to ship 2 week minimum. Our cage trip plate is in the middle, about 15 cm from each door so she can easily get at it. I tried the cardboard trick but no success. Anyone have any recommendations? We tried a kind of drop trap we handmade, which works with our other kats. But she never enters anyhting fully. She always make sure half of her body is out. She go to one side? Of the drop trap, closest to the food. Then she go underneath the raised wall bit but slide along and she keep half her body out. We stopped feeding her for over a day and she did the same, if it too risky she doesn't eat. I know she was trapped as a kitten so I reckon she has experience with traps.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17

Worriedaboutscaredycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
14
Purraise
42
Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
If the food is gone but the trap gate is closed, it could mean that the gate closes too slowly or is not securing properly. But the encouraging news is that the food is gone every time - somebody is getting used to the trap enough to return repeatedly to eat the food. Most cats avoid a trap after it snaps but over time, the "frequent flyers" are willing to accept the pay off of doing a little time in the trap for a rewarding treat.
There is also the possibility that some uninformed human is tampering with the trap. Thank you for the updates! I wish that we could do a TCS meetup in your area and do trapping as the activity. Maybe a Zoom meeting? It could be fun!
The trap works wells with our other cats( they are smaller and shorter though, and have no trapping experience.) So it could still be it just doesn't work for larger or more cautious cats. The other day I saw her rise her bum against the trap door or try to lean her whole neck in without going inside, or only to the entrance. Luckily since she in a bush we can hide and diguise the trap pretty well, so I hope it not some human going in there and messing with it. But it unlikely cause the area is covered in thorny dense bushes. Just in case we only open the trap when we are nearby and have decent vantage to it, so we can see if anyone goes into that area and tries to mess with it. The good news is she getting more comfortable with us and the trap and even now the cat carrier. I hope with time she will become less and less wary and eventually will enter one or the other. It good to know that some cats will come back to a trap even after being trapped in one. Hopefully she becomes more and more comfortable over time.
and yes I would love that. I don't know of any tnr groups in my area/ country. Most seem to be affiliated with a shelter and are usually aimed at spaying cats. The animal ambulance/ shelter told me if we can get her to come out further they come and try to trap her. But they can't spend hours trying to trap this one cat unforunately because they have few volunteers and a lot of sick animals. After this experience, I would probably be interested in trying to tnr some cats, as we have a lot of strays nearby and most seem to be unneutered and sickly.
 

MackerelTabbyStripes

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Messages
102
Purraise
166
How did you locate her that ~500m location from your house? My cat has been out ~2.5 weeks now. The first 10 days we were seeing her on our cameras, but nothing in the last week. We see a LOT of mice, ground squirrels, rabbits, etc on our cameras, plus people in my area do feed wildlife and community cats. She also was trapped as a kitten and brought in from being somewhat feral, like yours, so I am hoping that she is surviving fine in the good weather. I just need to find her and bring her back.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19

Worriedaboutscaredycat

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
14
Purraise
42
Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
How did you locate her that ~500m location from your house? My cat has been out ~2.5 weeks now. The first 10 days we were seeing her on our cameras, but nothing in the last week. We see a LOT of mice, ground squirrels, rabbits, etc on our cameras, plus people in my area do feed wildlife and community cats. She also was trapped as a kitten and brought in from being somewhat feral, like yours, so I am hoping that she is surviving fine in the good weather. I just need to find her and bring her back.
Sorry to hear that. With my cat we put up posters everywhere in a 5km circle.we usually went to check that cirle every week or so to make sure there were still some posters up. Someone who lived near where she was had been seeing her around for a while but didn't realise she was the missing cat. Then one day she noticed the poster and called. Thankfully she hasn't left that area in 3+ weeks. Is there a lot of bushes/ areas to hide nearby? There is only open field near my house, so she just kept running until she found a bush basically. If there is nearby then your cat is likely there. It good if you seen her in the cameras, and yeah really don't give up hope. I had written her off the day before we found her . Perhaps leaving a trap out will help? I also heard people say the cat litter helps but some others say it doesn't. Hoping you get her back, I know the pain.
 

MackerelTabbyStripes

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Aug 3, 2021
Messages
102
Purraise
166
Thanks. I'm in the middle of a suburb, but the lots are relatively large, with many having a lot of bushes, trees, sheds, decks, etc. I've been putting out some flyers, but probably not enough. I've posted on our community facebook and google mailing lists, and handed out flyers door-to-door to most of the people who answered the door within 500 ft of my house. I've been leaving out a baited trap every night -- we have motion security cameras at our house so we can see what's happening and it will wake and alert us. I've seen three cats in the area, her, a Tom we see in the daytime, and one looking similar to her that only came one night. But no cats in the past 5 days or so.

There are just sooo many places she could be hiding, almost all of which is on other people's private property, it's really tricky for me to try to find her.

I hope you get your kitty soon.
 
Top