Skittish cat ran away while moving. Do they ever relax enough to be found?

EveAndHerThieves

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One of my dearest cats, Kira, managed to get away from me two days ago. His carrier broke halfway into the new house and he bolted. He's incredibly timid, and with the new area I don't expect him to come home on his own. He took off into a fenced lot that's HUGE and covered in all the bushes, sheds, tall ground cover plants, and small areas to hide. They do have a sprinkler system, but who knows where that hits.

I'm still carefully hopeful for his return. He's the kind of cat that would bunker down rather than fleeing forever. I think.

With it being such a big area I'm not sure if he would find the food I place for him. It's also been 103f outside so I worry for his health. He will hide for AGES inside when we arrange things and it spooks him. I imagine outside is much worse. Do such skittish cats ever settle down enough to begin roaming it be found? Is there anything I can do to help sooth him while he's missing? I think he's within the yards of three or four people, so probably within the sound of my voice.
 

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I'm so sorry this happened. You must be worried sick about Kira. Keep going outside and calling him, especially around dawn and dusk, and at quieter times of day. Scatter some used litter around the place too. As this is a new place, he'll be missing all the familiar smells that would help guide him home. Used litter will have a familiar scent and will hopefully help guide him back home to you. Putting food out could also help,but you don't want to attract other cats and wildlife that might further spook Kira.

I know Norachan Norachan has a lot of experience with escapee cats, so hopefully she'll have some more ideas for you.

Don't lose hope. Keep searching, keep calling, and let your neighbours know that he's escaped. They may catch glimpses of Kira and help you narrow down where he is.

Good luck, and I hope he's safely home with you again soon :vibes: :vibes: :vibes:
 

Norachan

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He won't have gone far. When cats are lost in an unfamiliar area they bolt to the first hiding spot they can find and hunker down there. They quite often stay put for 2 or 3 days, so your chances of finding him in the next 48 hours are good.

Can you go into the area he went missing and stay there? I think your best chances of finding him are for you to go back to the same spot he disappeared and search the lot really thoroughly. Cats are more likely to be active at dusk and dawn, so even spending an hour there would give you a good chance of getting him back.

Take a flashlight/torch so you can look for the reflection of his eyes. If he's scared he might not move even though you are close to him, so look for his eyes shining.

Take his used litter with you. The smell will attract him.

Take his favourite food or a toy that he likes. Tap a food can or shake a treat packet. Anything that makes a noise he associates with home will get his attention.

You could also leave some of your unwashed clothes close the the place where he ran into the lots while you look for him. Cats recognise smells more than they recognise sights, so smelling you near your car might draw him out of hiding.

Good luck! Please let us know how it goes.
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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I've searched the area pretty well twice now. There's also a dog that lives there, but she doesn't travel too far into the lot. You'd think the dog would sniff him out. I don't have any used litter since it was a move. :( I can probably go back to leave some of my clothes, though. With it being such a large lot, would he find them? It's kind of a triangle shaped lot that goes up the side of a hill. I can't think of one area that would be better than another to leave scents in the hopes he sniffs them.

I'll buy some of his favorite treats today. He doesn't always come to them, but it's better than nothing, right? I'll have to figure out how to set out some food for him without the dog snarfing it. The neighbors said there's also some stray cats in the area who might eat it. I'm hoping they don't bully him off. I keep calling every morning and evening, leading back to my place. Maybe he'll figure out where I am and creep this way.

I'm super worried about the guy. It's been a horrible month. The house was so full of stress it gave us all headaches. Husband died, landlord ended the lease, no rentals, one of the main money providers lost their job... Poor Kira had been tense/uneasy all month. And the packing did NOT help. :(
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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If I'm unable to gain access to the actual property again, do you think I could coax him by the fence? Would it be worth it to tuck his favorite blanket by the fence if he's deep into the area?
 

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That happened to someone else here last year maybe? Her cat did show up but very scared. When you see her talk quietly and get low, dont stand and walk toward her. If you can post pics. Would she react if you shake a bag of treats? Cats hearing is very sharp so she will hear you even if you talk in normal tone
 

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If I'm unable to gain access to the actual property again, do you think I could coax him by the fence? Would it be worth it to tuck his favorite blanket by the fence if he's deep into the area?
I am not really adding much to what has already been suggested, but - if at all possible, can you sit by the fence for a period of time, calling his name, and shaking a bag/can of treats/food? You can take the blanket with you, but you are more likely to get him to come to you rather than just the blanket alone. Besides, if he finds the blanket, would that enable him to know where to head next? I would sit out there as many times a day as you possibly can. Each stay should last at least 1/2 hour to give him time to recognize it is you and then decide to come in your direction. If he does come to the fence, can you get to him?
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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Good news/bad news. I found him. Sort of. He's at the shelter on a 14 day hold. He attacked someone. (He's incredibly nervous) the person who dropped him off knew my number so they knew he was mine, which means they knew he was paranoid and I can't afford to fetch him. Ugh. So! Time to figure out how to afford a cat. But at least I know where he is?
 

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I'm glad he's safe at least, and that you know where he is. So frustrating that that person didn't call you first. Sounds like they should be footing the bill for getting him out again :mad2:

As FeebysOwner FeebysOwner says, can you borrow the money from someone? Or maybe see if the shelter will accept a payment plan in the circumstances? I know that's a longshot, but it doesn't hurt to ask :wink:
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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I think Kira made it back to the old house - we lived two streets up. My landlord is kinda mad about what my mom did to the house, so even though she's usually friends with me she's a bit mad. I bet she did it because she was annoyed. I can borrow money, but... It comes out of the money my family is using for a hotel until they find housing. Sigh. I'm hoping to pick up a few more dogs to walk to pay for him.

I'm glad he's okay, but I feel terrible for him. :( He's already skitterish enough. He's going to need a LOT of work when he gets back. I'm very grumpy.


Kira doesn't look that wild to me! Hilariously he's a boy. Everyone thinks he's a girl. He acts like a shy female. :p

IMG_20200629_105556403.jpg
 

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Good news/bad news. I found him. Sort of. He's at the shelter on a 14 day hold. He attacked someone. (He's incredibly nervous) the person who dropped him off knew my number so they knew he was mine, which means they knew he was paranoid and I can't afford to fetch him. Ugh. So! Time to figure out how to afford a cat. But at least I know where he is?
So someone from the shelter called you and know it's your Cat, but won't let you pick him up for 2 weeks and you have to pay an adoption fee? That.....doesn't make any sense. If someone can prove it is their Cat there is no fee, at least around where I live. I guess it could be different elsewhere but it still seems strange to me. If it was me I'd call back and ask to talk to whoever is in charge.

I think Kira made it back to the old house - we lived two streets up.
If you only moved 2 streets over that is most likely the case, animals that escape a new home will often return to their former home (or at least attempt to) after a move because it is familiar to them.
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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I can't visit him due to him attacking someone. Which to be fair, he DID fo. Sort of. My landlord was helping me move cats from Room A to Room B so we could put the stuff on the moving truck. I told her he was panicky, but I guess I didn't stress it enough. (We were all super tired and stressed, and there were a dozen people running around the house helping move) Kira got upstairs, saw the strange people, saw the empty rooms, was being held by a stranger... When she went to out him in a room he panicked. Not gonna lie, he mangled her good. I mean, *I* wouldn't think too much of it, but if you're not a cat person...

So she got mad about it. When he came back she took him to the shelter. She told the shelter she's pretty sure he belonged to me and gave them my info. But because she also said he'd attacked her they are required by law to hold him to check for rabies and such. I'm furious. I can kinda see her point, I guess. She's mad about what my mom did to the house (it's not pretty) mad that my cats got out of control, and mad that they shredded her. I fully accept the house, and offered to pay to have it renovated. She declined. But hauled off my cat instead. I guess "well they're gone and it's something they left behind so I have to haul it off." Applies to cats and garbage?

Because she told the shelter he attacked someone he's stuck there. He's not up to date on shots, which I completely accept is my fault. It's been a crappy year and that wasn't the biggest concern I had. They're holding him for two weeks, plus the fee to pick him up, plus a new rabies shot, etc. It'll be at least $250 to pick him up.

The best part? The landlord KNEW I was two streets down, and homeless. So she KNOWS I can't afford to get him. And she KNOWS how much he means to me personally. She may hate my mom, but she was my BFF. Now I low key hate her, grr. Poor Kira got caught up in human politics. :( I hope he's okay.
 

Talien

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I can't visit him due to him attacking someone. Which to be fair, he DID fo. Sort of. My landlord was helping me move cats from Room A to Room B so we could put the stuff on the moving truck. I told her he was panicky, but I guess I didn't stress it enough. (We were all super tired and stressed, and there were a dozen people running around the house helping move) Kira got upstairs, saw the strange people, saw the empty rooms, was being held by a stranger... When she went to out him in a room he panicked. Not gonna lie, he mangled her good. I mean, *I* wouldn't think too much of it, but if you're not a cat person...

So she got mad about it. When he came back she took him to the shelter. She told the shelter she's pretty sure he belonged to me and gave them my info. But because she also said he'd attacked her they are required by law to hold him to check for rabies and such. I'm furious. I can kinda see her point, I guess. She's mad about what my mom did to the house (it's not pretty) mad that my cats got out of control, and mad that they shredded her. I fully accept the house, and offered to pay to have it renovated. She declined. But hauled off my cat instead. I guess "well they're gone and it's something they left behind so I have to haul it off." Applies to cats and garbage?

Because she told the shelter he attacked someone he's stuck there. He's not up to date on shots, which I completely accept is my fault. It's been a crappy year and that wasn't the biggest concern I had. They're holding him for two weeks, plus the fee to pick him up, plus a new rabies shot, etc. It'll be at least $250 to pick him up.

The best part? The landlord KNEW I was two streets down, and homeless. So she KNOWS I can't afford to get him. And she KNOWS how much he means to me personally. She may hate my mom, but she was my BFF. Now I low key hate her, grr. Poor Kira got caught up in human politics. :( I hope he's okay.
How do they know he's not up to date on his shots? But even still, $250? That is insane. It costs less than that to adopt a Cat.

But you could think of it this way. You offered to pay for the renovation which would have cost a lot more than $250, and she declined, then burned her bridges with you. So if it costs $250 to put all that crap behind you then it's a lot less than it could've been.
 

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The $250 is a common fee for a quarantined cat especially since now he will be labeled as fractious. You might have some success asking the shelter if they can accept PayPal payments or even donations for Kira's "bail". If they do, try posting on FB, here, any place that you can think of. Meanwhile, use the quarantine period to prepare a quiet, escape-proof setting for Kira to destress when he comes home. Try to not be too worried about how freaked out that he may be because that will make him be more insecure - instead, remain calm, confident and reassuring. My local shelter gave me a cat from the euth list because a lady & her kids claimed he attacked them; the cat hid in a closet most of the winter but came out at night to eat and sleep with the 3 other fosters. He escaped outside in spring when a houseguest opened a window - the cat jumped right through the screen! Anyway, the cat hid for a week, lurking by my "side B" feral colony so I kept telling him that he is safe here & free to be the kind of cat that HE needs & wants to be. a few weeks later, he was following me as we made the feeding rounds. Now he is affectionate to everyone & is considering coming inside.
 

Norachan

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How do they know he's not up to date on his shots?
I guess you'd have to provide an up-to-date vaccination certificate when you claimed him?

E EveAndHerThieves Try not to think of this as a disaster. It sucks, but at least he is alive. He's safe and you know where he is, and he'll be taken care of for the next few weeks.

That will give you time to get settled into your new place and come up with the bail. If you can't get the whole amount by yourself you could start a GoFundMe and ask for help.

It could have turned out a lot worse, so try not to worry too much.

:alright:
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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Super duper late reply. Thanks for all the well wishes! We're almost done with Week One. I can pick him up not this Monday, but next. We call him my "half cat" because you never see him around unless he's streaking from place to place. For half a cat I didn't realize how much I rely on him. I miss him horribly. :( I'm okay with him getting his shots since it was on my list anyway, but give me my cat back!
 
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