Previous near-feral kitten trapped in December, gave her a home, she just escaped

dulcemir

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I trapped a near-feral kitten in December. She was probably 8-10 weeks old. We gave her a home and she got on well with my two other cats (even though they were annoyed by the kitten energy).

I stupidly left the door open yesterday, and she escaped. She ran pretty quickly and hopped the fence. I was sick with worry.

I set out out a trap last night, and no dice. She walked to the other side of it, near where the food was placed, but didn't go in to attempt to eat it. She may have had bad memories from her first trapping experience.

I saw her today multiple times in the neighbor's yard. She even meowed-cried at me. The thing is, she won't come near me, even though I cracked open a can of wet food for her. She was more than an arm's length away from me, wouldn't let me nab her.

I need her back desperately. I love her so much. I've read all the tips about how to find missing cats, but she seems very skittish and unwilling to cooperate.

Right now, I'm staying up all night with wet food indoors and the patio door cracked open, hoping she'll come in. I've read about skittish cats just sauntering in after an adventure, and I hope that's the case with my girl.

Any tips appreciated.

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Antonio65

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Hi, I'm sorry for your bad adventure, and I know how you're feeling.

Of course, many feral cats won't trust the trap again if they have got trapped once. Only a very few cats will walk in that monster again, but on average they have very good memory.
I'm reading that your kitty comes rather close to you and sort of trusts you to the point of meowing at you in search of support. What you can do is to use a different kind of trap, something that the kitty wouldn't recognize as a trap, namely a drop trap.
Ask a rescue team in your area if they can lend you one. Generally those traps can catch even the smarter cat.

She's so cute! :redheartpump:
 

Jcatbird

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Try putting a carrier or cardboard box out where you see here and another line of boxes leading over to your yard. Put something with your scent only on it. Like a sort you wore. Or you can use something that has her scent on it. A favorite toy or blanket. If she lets you near, lay on your back on the ground and just stay there talking to her. You may need to put your back to her but give her time to explore you. Pursuing her actively , as in trying to walk over and catch her, will scare her away. She must come to you. Putting something yummy like Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food that is slightly warm may lure her hear you. You can put a small dish of that inside a carrier and if she goes in while you are near, you can shit the door. That has worked for me. Leaving the door at your house open may work if there is nothing there to scare her. A line of favorite kitty treats up to a table or high spot to hide may help. Beware of other creatures coming in to eat it too though. A wand toy may help too. If she will get absorbed in chasing the toy on the line, she may venture over you , your feet or come close enough that she realizes it is you. That can be a start and you may even be able to pick her up at that point but watch out for her to be frightened. Using thick gloves or wrapping her in a towel may be needed or even put her into a carrier. Sometimes I have just opened a carrier for a cat that new me and was scared and they went inside. Don’t give up. She is just scared of being outside again. They often kind of revert to their instincts and are wary of anything that moves. Keep doing what you are doing and please keep us posted. Patience and time.
 
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dulcemir

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Hi, I'm sorry for your bad adventure, and I know how you're feeling.

Of course, many feral cats won't trust the trap again if they have got trapped once. Only a very few cats will walk in that monster again, but on average they have very good memory.
I'm reading that your kitty comes rather close to you and sort of trusts you to the point of meowing at you in search of support. What you can do is to use a different kind of trap, something that the kitty wouldn't recognize as a trap, namely a drop trap.
Ask a rescue team in your area if they can lend you one. Generally those traps can catch even the smarter cat.

She's so cute! :redheartpump:
I talked to a great trapper, and she recommended using the same trap, but to prop it up with a bottle so the kitten doesn't have to go too far into the trap before the door closes. I'll stand nearby and pull the string if I see her in there. Apparently the drive and desire to eat outweighs any bad memories!
 
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dulcemir

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Try putting a carrier or cardboard box out where you see here and another line of boxes leading over to your yard. Put something with your scent only on it. Like a sort you wore. Or you can use something that has her scent on it. A favorite toy or blanket. If she lets you near, lay on your back on the ground and just stay there talking to her. You may need to put your back to her but give her time to explore you. Pursuing her actively , as in trying to walk over and catch her, will scare her away. She must come to you. Putting something yummy like Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food that is slightly warm may lure her hear you. You can put a small dish of that inside a carrier and if she goes in while you are near, you can shit the door. That has worked for me. Leaving the door at your house open may work if there is nothing there to scare her. A line of favorite kitty treats up to a table or high spot to hide may help. Beware of other creatures coming in to eat it too though. A wand toy may help too. If she will get absorbed in chasing the toy on the line, she may venture over you , your feet or come close enough that she realizes it is you. That can be a start and you may even be able to pick her up at that point but watch out for her to be frightened. Using thick gloves or wrapping her in a towel may be needed or even put her into a carrier. Sometimes I have just opened a carrier for a cat that new me and was scared and they went inside. Don’t give up. She is just scared of being outside again. They often kind of revert to their instincts and are wary of anything that moves. Keep doing what you are doing and please keep us posted. Patience and time.
I hung out with my girl last night between midnight and 5am. She didn't let me touch her or grab her, but she ate off my index finger and took treats from my hands. She even got close enough to the dish I gave her. The only problem is, she wouldn't allow any moves that would indicate that my hands were about to grab her. I actually tried three times, and she flinched and ran off each time. But she returned. That was a good sign. She still knows and trusts me, somewhat.

You're right about not trying to grab her. I talked to a trapper today who recommended I not approach her. She recommended I just create the most comfortable situation in my backyard so she can reclaim it as hers (a cat in the neighbor's backyard she's camping out at almost had a fight with her last night) and feel safe. That way, she'll feel comfortable to visit and will have a place to eat, guaranteeing that she won't stray further than the neighbor's house. The trapper also recommended I set out a bunch of food, along with the most rewarding/stinky food in the trap, an stand back in the dark to pull the string tied on a bottle when she's in. She was pretty confident that I'd trap her this week, but I am very despairing at the moment. I want to believe her, but I also am saving myself.
 

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I have walked in your shoes many times. The string trick is a good one. You can try draping a little light sheet or towel over the trap to disguise it a bit too. I have also had times where I propped the door to be sure it would stay open over a few days and yummy food was free inside and nothing bad happened. The kitty began to trust the trap again and then I stayed nearby the trap and pulled the string. A large crate worked for me with trap shy cats. It looks different and more like a nice box. Cats tend to love boxes. I could sit near with some and as they ate I just , very quickly, shut the door and held it fast until inlatched it. I have put the crate under a tarp that was tented to give a secure cover from rain. I have also laid under a blanket and hidden to shit the doors. Try to be calm and know that patience and thinking from a kitty point of view will help you to imagine what would seem a safe spot for a cat. Sort of thinking outside the box? Lol In this case, inside the box. Sending lots of good vibes your way. Hang in there. She loves you and trusts you. She just needs to regain her confidence and overcome her instinctive fears. :vibes::redheartpump: You are not alone in this. Many of us have experienced the same dismay and worries. In this case you have great advantages. She knows and trust you and you know where she is. Slow and steady. You’ll get her.
 

Jcatbird

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She might be hiding out. It’s scary out there and they also need to investigate when all is dark and quiet. The kitty safe hours are the times they feel they can look around a bit. She knows you are near. Has she been spayed yet? If not, that may be why she slipped out. If a male is around, she may hide from them at first. Unless she is in full heat, she is young and may avoid a male. Dusk and Dawn are times cats often come out. Before the human world is fully making noise. I have had them appear at 9 or ten in the morning too. Whatever your previous feeding schedule was, try that too. You may want to try and borrow a larger trap from a local rescue group or animal shelter/animal control. You can also try putting your trap inside a box that is just slightly larger than the trap. Camouflage can really help. I have even used branches and brush to make a trap smell like the surrounding area. She has been in the neighbors yard. Any chance they can leave a door open to allow her in to be caught there? Will she allow anyone else to handle her? With a cat at my Dad’s house, we used multiple traps and put them along natural paths in the yard. Places like hedges along a line and around the foundation of the house. When hunting a kitty, look up, look down and look under. They are masters at hiding. A flashlight is a great tool. Cats eyes reflect extremely well if they look at the light. You may see a flash of a pair of eyes. Listen very carefully. Sit still and just listen for a little while. You may hear the light crunch of leaves or some other small movement. Chances are, she is watching you right now. Keep doing what you are doing , just add a little more to the routine. Talk softly to her.
 

Antonio65

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I talked to a great trapper, and she recommended using the same trap, but to prop it up with a bottle so the kitten doesn't have to go too far into the trap before the door closes. I'll stand nearby and pull the string if I see her in there. Apparently the drive and desire to eat outweighs any bad memories!
Do lots of experiments beforehand (without the kitty around you), and see how effective this prop is. You wouldn't like to find out that it doesn't work, or that it has some isues, when you need it the most. You can't fail, you might only have one chance.
 

Talien

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A drop trap is the way to go. Or since she trusts you enough to eat out of your hand you could also try luring her into a large carrier with food or treats then shut the door behind her. I caught one of my rescues that way, I put some cooked chicken breast in a carrier and walked away a bit and he went right in after the food.
 
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dulcemir

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Good news, friends! This bad girl is back. I had to climb a roof and coax her with tuna, and she was still skipping away when I got too close. I managed to get her to go into a carrier by throwing tuna into it (her predator instincts were set off by the throwing action and the sound of the meat hitting the plastic). She was still hesitant, but eventually went halfway in. She was about to scuttle out because she sensed I was going to do something, but I snatched her in time. I AM SO RELIEVED.

Here's how she looked this morning. What a brat. I lost two nights of sleep, and she acts as though nothing happened.

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dulcemir

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:cloud9::woo::banana1::bunnydance:Thank goodness! If she is not spayed, please get that done. It will help to keep her from trying to escape. You have no idea how happy I am for you! Bravo, well done and thank you so much for letting us know!
She's spayed, but not microchipped! I'm going to schedule that PRONTO! Thank you for your hopeful and helpful words!!!
 
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