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Missing cat returned - very stressed

(69 Posts)
Sleepingtom Wed 02-Dec-15 12:03:44

I worn out and stressed and need to vent. Out new rescue cat disappeared through a locked cat flap three weeks ago, six hours after we got him. Not the best weekend - I was in bits. I put food out every day and after two weeks saw him eating it by chance. Since I now knew he was coming for food each night we borrowed a trap and got him last night. He went wild when we let him out and is now in our living room hiding. He growls whenever we come near. I am so stressed and worn out by the whole thing and wondering if we would be better off giving him back to the CP league so they can rehome him somewhere nice and quite without young kids, which the fosterer reckons is the reason he may have escaped although I don't know. He may have just seized an opportunity she he saw the cat flap. [Tired emoticon]

titchy Wed 02-Dec-15 12:27:07

He needs to be confined to one quiet room with his food and litter tray and no kids for a few weeks at least, just able to to see you pottering around enough to become familiar with you. He's probably terrified right now. If you can't keep young children away from him then he probably needs to go back.

Sleepingtom Wed 02-Dec-15 12:44:05

Thanks, I have locked him in the living room which is quiet and the kids/my husband won't go in. He has stopped growling now and is silent behind the curtain. I think he would have been fine with my young kids before he escaped but as you say he is now terrified and it seems like a whole different thing.

cozietoesie Wed 02-Dec-15 13:08:58

Poor you and poor cat.

Go in there this afternoon/evening and read - or watch a movie if you have a spare device. They like that. ( Pay him no attention of course.) Tell the family that you're 'soothing the cat and not to be disturbed'.

(It could be the best private time you'll get this month.) grin

Good luck.

chemenger Wed 02-Dec-15 17:22:47

cozietoesie is right, you need to spend time with him but ignoring him. He needs to come to you rather than you trying to make friends with him. If he can be in that room with his food and litter tray for a while with you visiting from time to time but not trying to interact he will probably come round to you and then be ready to meet everyone else. He's not ready to understand that when you approach him you are not threatening him but eventually he will make the first move. When he does approach don't overwhelm him, let him set the pace.

Sleepingtom Wed 02-Dec-15 17:48:01

Thanks, I have been popping in and out and doing a few quiet bits and saying a gentle hello, and sitting down on the other side of the room. I am really worried tho that when we go to bed he will go haywire trying to escape (he can't again tho) as he could potentially hurt himself if he did. When we let him out of the trap he climbed up the curtains to the ceiling and fell onto the TV. It was awful. I am so stressed, the whole thing has been a nightmare from start to finish! I spoke to the fosterer who has a spare pen and is happy to take him back so she can care for him and give him to a nice retired couple or something. I didn't want to give up on him but seeing him today feel like he maybe needs a quieter home than I can offer after his ordeal. It's been a challenge keeping my kids out of there. Not sure I can do it for a month.

Sleepingtom Wed 02-Dec-15 17:48:38

Liking the idea of being able to take myself off for a quite evening tho!

Sleepingtom Wed 02-Dec-15 17:50:15

I will stop trying to interact too. Thanks for the advice. Really appreciate. A friend has also advised lying down which I have been doing when I go in.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 02-Dec-15 18:13:31

Take a gin and tonic in with you. Cats love the smell of the botanicals in gin <insert alcoholic drink of choice here>

PolterGoose Wed 02-Dec-15 18:39:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Madlizzy Wed 02-Dec-15 18:43:46

Get a feliway diffuser too, to help bring down his stress levels. A few toys scattered round so he doesn't get bored when the house is empty would also go down well, plus a cardboard cat scratcher.

chemenger Wed 02-Dec-15 18:43:56

Remember that cats find eye contact threatening so try not to look at him too much. They are funny creatures but worth the effort.

Sleepingtom Wed 02-Dec-15 18:59:06

A gin and tonic is exactly what I need. And if it is in the cat's best interests... wink

Sleepingtom Thu 03-Dec-15 09:08:20

Well I hear a noise in the night so went downstairs and he was up exploring. Back to hiding today but purrs when I go in (I know this doesn't mean he is happy but better than growling right?). I am going to spend the morning working in the lounge. He hasn't used his litter tray or eaten (even dreamies), is that normal for a cat under stress? The toilet thing I mean. I don't want him to get blocked up! Feeling a bit more positive. Thanks for your advice yesterday

cozietoesie Thu 03-Dec-15 09:25:05

Purring doesn't necessarily mean he's happy and pleased to see you - but it just might! Sounds as if you're doing well. smile

cozietoesie Thu 03-Dec-15 09:32:33

PS - just remember to tell the family (with a look of pained virtue on your face) 'I need to do it for the cat' grin whenever you want to do something. Been doing it myself for years and I'm still getting away with it!

Just go about your business, largely ignoring him, very limited physical contact - if any - but feel free to do a lot of talking to him. Cats seem to like vocalisation more than they do stroking if they're stressed.

Sleepingtom Thu 03-Dec-15 22:44:40

Thanks cozie - am loving the excuse to slope off to the living room! Did work in their all morning with daytime TV on - lovely. Still just the occasional curtain twitch - I have been talking nonsense to him occasionally but otherwise keeping my distance. Still no food eaten - hoping he'll at least use the litter tray tonight fsad Might have to get some of that feliway spray tomorrow.

Sleepingtom Thu 03-Dec-15 22:45:17

* there blush

ZebraOwl Thu 03-Dec-15 23:10:40

Is his tray well away from his food & his water? Is it in a spot where he might feel he'd be vulnerable using it?

Sounds as if you're doing All The Right Things & it's just a matter of letting the wee chap get over the several shocks & acclimatise to things. I was very lucky when I got my cats (as 8 week old kittens) that they came on in leaps & bounds & adjusted far FAR faster than I'd expected (& than literature suggested, but then, literature suggests they'd be semiferal due to lack of human interaction in that crucial first 8 weeks & they are total human-orientated little snugglemonsters, albeit stranger-wary).

Sorry, I'm awfully tired (long day with desperately sad funeral in middle of it) & thus burbling. Basically, yay you & hurrah for Persevering & Patience. It is all going to be Okay. It is. Yes. Definitely you need to keep thinking that because Cat will pick up on your energy & you want him to be getting Positive & Happy & Relaxed feelings, yes?

Lots & lots & VERY lots of luck with it all & I hope Cat settles in well & soon, including use of tray!

Sleepingtom Fri 04-Dec-15 00:59:31

So sorry to hear about your day Zebra sad I am always exhausted after a funeral. Thanks for the advice about litter tray positioning. Had already moved it away from food but it was in front of a big patio window so have put it somewhere more private.

You are a very helpful lot!

Am so hoping he'll be OK. When he initiated came, before he escaped that it, he was nervous but not that shy so am hopeful that this episode is just a blip. Looking back when we got the trap in we should have covered it. The cat lady did tell us but we forgot as it was first thing in the morning. I think that really didn't help. I'd say you live and learn but hopefully I will never have to use a trial again as I personally found it very stressful.

Sleepingtom Fri 04-Dec-15 01:02:10

*initially came and *trap not trial... It's been a long week!

cozietoesie Fri 04-Dec-15 07:53:48

Do you know any of his history before he came to you?

chemenger Fri 04-Dec-15 17:48:21

How is it going today?

DeirdreDoo Fri 04-Dec-15 17:55:42

I wonder if he might just not be keen on that food? Did they tell you what he was used to?

Mine always went nuts for pouches, and it meant a clean bowl within 60 seconds, no dried on food, and a happy cat till supper time and the second pouch...and no waste either. So it worked out reasonable compared to tinned food.

None of mine would ever eat dried food for more than a few days, even the very posh stuff.

Sleepingtom Fri 04-Dec-15 18:14:59

Thanks everyone. Well, the dreamies I put out were gone this morning (yay) but other food untouched. Litter tray not used. How long can a stressed cat hold on for?! Although DH thought the living room smelled a bit wee-y...

He went to the CP league due to a relationship breakup and seemed very cuddly when I first met him. He was a bit nervous when he arrived here but not overly so - until he escaped that is.

I have been putting down Felix pkus biscuits which he was used to and was eating while 'on the run' but have changed to whiskas in case that helps. Might get some tuna tomorrow. I think he is currently still in hiding mode though sad

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