They Left :(

BellaGooch

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I wasn't sure I wanted to post this, because I feel horrible about it.
As some of you may remember, we adopted Pants and Mona (Mona is a complete feral and Pants is a stray) and kept them in a safe, outdoor enclosure for over a month. We opened the door to the enclosure about a week and a half ago, planning on them hanging around and letting Pants be an indoor/outdoor cat. (Mona was opposed to us completely; I don't think she ever would have come into the house. I think she would have been/will be much more happy hunting mice and roaming freely outdoors.)
However, things didn't exactly go according to plan.
They took off that night, and we have seen the food and water disappear occasionally, but we aren't sure if that's the cats eating the food or rodents, especially since their litter box has yet to be used since they have been released. We want to somehow set up a camera to see if it's the cats eating, but we, unfortunately, do not have one to set up.
I feel absolutely horrible and wish we would have gone about this a different way. There are so many things I wish we could have done differently with these cats to prevent this from happening.
We do not have any predators in our area, and Pants has a collar on, but we have no idea where they went or if they are hanging around our yard.
If there's anybody who has had experience with a situation like this, did your strays/ferals return? How long did it take?
We suspect that Mona (the dominant cat) may have influenced Pants into wandering off, seeing as she was not attached to us in the slightest.
I'm trying to hold out hope, but I'm not sure if they'll ever come back. I really thought they would hang around- Even Mona seemed like maybe she would stick around for the food- And Pants was letting us pet him and enjoying us.
For now, we're just trying to replenish their food and water, call for them, and hold out hope.
 

WhiteAilly

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I understand how worried you feel for them out there. I had an indoor cat wondered off twice in the past and both times he was gone for like 3 days and came back very hungry. After the 2nd time, he never wanted to go out again. I will be praying for your Mona & Pants' safety and for them to return home together very soon. They can be hanging out very close to the house🤞.
 

KittyCatCove

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Try to be patient, I have a feeling they will come back. I would keep putting the food out at night in the usual spot.

Right now I have 1 friendly stray and 2 ferals I feed. They sometimes disappear for days, but they always come back. My ferals only come around at night when no one is around.
 

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I have had many ferals come and go. It always seemed that just when I was at wits end, they showed up.
I just read a new study about missing cats that were found. Outside cats were found to have been within a 17 house radius. Indoor cats were closer. True ferals may wander farther but I truly believe they are returning. They would not be likely to use the litter box since they can go outside. They would prefer to go potty farther from their food location anyway. Have you tried searching at odd hours? Early morning but also after dark. Use a flashlight to shine around because cats eyes are very easy to spot. They really reflect the light! Cats tend to go under things into hiding. Any little cubby or cave like place. Any outbuilding or garage too. They also tend to go high. I have often found them on rooftops or in trees. Have you asked neighbors? Do. If possible put up flyers. I always used fluorescent poster board at the roadside and it was very effective. Are the spayed/neutered? That makes a difference since they will want to find other cats in heat or be pursued by cats seeking to mate. That keeps them occupied until the cycle is complete, at which time you may see them return.
Have you tried calling local vets, shelters, rescue groups? Sometimes people like me find lost kitties and work to reunite them with their family. I call vets, post flyers everywhere, including the local post office and store bulletin boards and I put the cats pictures online. Google “Find lost cat” and go looking.
Truthfully, I am betting they are very close by. I can’t tell you how many times people here have responded about missing cats. I just have this same search info to another member recently and the kitty did come back. All was well. Don’t give up. It may take longer than you like but they are , most likely, slipping in to eat at times and know that you are still providing for them. They may also be getting some handouts nearby in between feedings there. Keep your same feeding routine. Keep calling. Cats outside are not likely to meow much but they do hear you. Show them that nothing there has changed for them. That they are still welcome and expected to show up. Please do keep us updated. :alright:
 
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BellaGooch

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Thank you so much.
Yes, both of them are spayed/neutered. Although I have not yet asked neighbors, I definitely will! Putting posters up is a wonderful idea, too. Mona also has a tendency to go high, whereas Pants usually prefers small, spaces down below :) Thank you again so much.
P.S. I will definitely keep you updated!
 

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Uay! I am so very happy for you! I don’t know your hopes for them but it is possible to start leading Pants back to being a social kitty that stays at home if you wish to work on that. Since he wears a collar, I would encourage trying to get him back where you have access to him again. Good kitty Pants! BTW I love the name! Really cute. I am truly very happy for you! I’m glad you kept looking. :clap2:
 
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BellaGooch

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Uay! I am so very happy for you! I don’t know your hopes for them but it is possible to start leading Pants back to being a social kitty that stays at home if you wish to work on that. Since he wears a collar, I would encourage trying to get him back where you have access to him again. Good kitty Pants! BTW I love the name! Really cute. I am truly very happy for you! I’m glad you kept looking. :clap2:
We definitely do want to and we definitely will :) Thank you so much.
 
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BellaGooch

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really really recommend getting a camera set up. this could happen again and you REALLY should try to keep track of their whereabouts.
We've been thinking about this! Thank you!
 

shadowsrescue

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I used wireless ip cameras for years with my outside feral cats. It really was a blessing. Yet also beware that you may see more than you want or wish to see. One year I put 2 under my deck. Two of my feral boys were constantly hiding under it. I saw every critter possible. I couldn't believe what was living under there. Also in my yard there were way too frequent visitors of coyotes. I lived in the middle of suburbia. No food was ever left out at night. Yet from seeing so much of their danger, it made my decision to move them all inside much easier.

If you do not have electricity or wifi available, you can try a trail camera. They record video as well as taking still shots. You just need a SD card and then a reader to use on a your computer or laptop. I really prefer the wireless ip. Many are around $50 so if wifi and electricity is available, I would really recommend them. Here is one I like
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GSS4ZHK/?tag=thecatsite
 
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BellaGooch

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We have been continuously putting out food and have seen Pants a couple of times (each time he comes around it is at about 12:05-12:30) but have yet to see Mona. We're definitely thinking about setting up cameras, and we actually have one somewhere that we might be able to hook up. It would very useful! Pants has definitely been sort of skittish, but I'm hopeful that he'll, hopefully soon, let us pet him and love him again :)
 

moxiewild

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I’ll add to the camera recommendations! We use the crap out of cameras.

Trail cameras are usually about $40-60 but Walmart has some that are in the $30-40 range. We have a few of those, and they work perfectly well. Only down side is that there isn’t a display screen to watch the footage on the camera itself, you have to take out the SD card every time and upload it to your phone or computer. But if cost is an issue, it’ll get the job done.

If where you feed them is under cover and near an outlet, you can also use some nanny cams.

We use 4 Netvue cameras at the feeding stations at our house. They’re meant for indoors but they’ve been holding up for about two years under cover.

They’re usually about $30-35 on Amazon and they come with an app, so you’ll be notified as soon as movement is detected.

If possible, that’s the route I would go, especially for a situation like this.

Here’s the link - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0899GLP7R/?tag=thecatsite
 
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BellaGooch

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Thank you very, very much!!!
I have a lot to look into lol. I definitely appreciate all of you guys responding, it means a lot!
We have been seeing Pants (not Mona, but maybe we will on camera :) ) and another feral coming around to eat. We have gotten pretty close to Pants and this new feral... About 6 feet. We're just trying to let them know that we're their friends that we want and want to help them :)
 
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BellaGooch

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The "feral" I previously mentioned who has been coming around to eat is now letting us pet her. We have nicknamed her Eden. She is a gorgeous long-haired tortie who is very vocal and very sweet and loving, not as wild as we initially presume. :yess: She has been living on the other side of our fence in the backyard (the other side is a growers nursery, full of fun spaces to hide and mice to catch, and usually very free of people), and she is very quick to come when she smells food. She has been coming around to eat at about 6:00, whereas Pants usually comes around at about 11:00 or so. We have been slowly making progress with him, but he still won't let us pet him, and we still haven't seen Mona yet. he also lost his collar, and he hasn't let us come close enough to get a new collar on him yet. Looking into cameras. Thank you guys so much for all of your advice and tips and support! :happycat:
 
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