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Helping a terrified cat! Urgent. Advice needed.

(35 Posts)
Shinygoldbauble Sat 20-Apr-19 22:41:44

Yesterday while I was away from home my elderly neighbour was taken seriously ill. Her cat escaped and got into our garden. Dh tried to help but knows nothing about cats and is inclined to be over-enthusiastic. He somehow managed to chase it into our house and after running scared for some time it has taken up residence in my bathroom cupboard.
It is beyond terrified. It has barely moved since last night and seems to have barely touched any food.
We are not in the UK - tried the only cat rescue around and as it is in a safe place and not a stray they can't help.
Neither the neighbour or we are in a position to pay for an emergency vet callout.
I think we should leave it in the peace and quiet with access to food and water til it calms down and then try to coax it out.
Has anyone any suggestions of advice?

OP’s posts: |
lljkk Sat 20-Apr-19 22:47:25

Cats are creatures of habit & love routine.
Being at yours is totally not those things.
Leave it with water & time to get used to your presence. Try to be quiet around it.
Do you have anything that can be co-opted as a litter tray? I'm wondering if shredded newspaper would do as emergency litter.

Finfintytint Sat 20-Apr-19 22:48:02

I agree to leave it in peace until it feels comfortable to come out. Leave out food and water and a litter tray. It will need time.
You are lovely neighbours.

Wolfiefan Sat 20-Apr-19 22:49:46

You are lovely. The only advice I would add is make sure it has a litter tray and ensure it can’t escape from your house. Doesn’t sound like a vet is needed as it isn’t injured.

Shinygoldbauble Sat 20-Apr-19 22:51:27

We've put a litter tray in the cupboard. It's a large airing cupboard so lots of room in there now that I've emptied the contents into my bedroom.
The situation is far from ideal but I'm willing to give it a few days to see how it goes.
If we can't calm it enough to catch it what should we do next?
What if it won't eat?

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Sat 20-Apr-19 22:56:31

It’ll be fine if left quietly. It won’t starve in a day or two. Leave water near where it’s hidden. Leave it in peace. Rescue cats often do similar for a few days when they are in a new home.

lljkk Sat 20-Apr-19 22:57:36

There's supposed to be some terrible freaky reason cats can kill themselves by missing a meal for 36 hours they certainly behave like that would die if you let that happen but I don't believe it's common. Too many cats stuck in walls or sheds for weeks & nothing worse than dehydrated when they emerge, & they can eat pretty fine.

ime, it's probably a well-nourished cat who can wait days before it would suffer from not eating. Just let the poor thing calm down. Can you find out what kind of food the elderly neighbour gave it? Did I mention cats like familiar things & routine, food it's used to would be most welcome.

Shinygoldbauble Sat 20-Apr-19 23:01:16

Thanks. Poor dh is worried that he's caused it to have a breakdown of something. He was just trying to help.

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viccat Sat 20-Apr-19 23:01:25

It's normal to not eat for a few days in a new place. Just leave some food and a bowl of water available, ideally as far away from the litter tray as possible as cats don't like their food near their litter.

Do you know if he's usually an indoor only cat or used to going out? If indoor, they tend to be even more scared of new people and places and take longer to settle in (I'm a cat charity volunteer and see this a lot).

Hopefully he will calm down after a day or two so you can get him into a cat carrier. You could in fact put an open carrier where he is now and with some luck he'll choose that as his safe place and go into it on his own accord.

Shinygoldbauble Sat 20-Apr-19 23:08:27

Definitely an indoor cat and neighbour kept to herself and had very few visitors so the cat isn't at all used to people.

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lljkk Sat 20-Apr-19 23:11:35

Tomorrow when you check on it, get us a pic? smile
Cats aren't fragile, cat will be fine. Just respect they are slow to accept change. Will come around, but takes a while.

HoppityChicken Sat 20-Apr-19 23:13:13

A bit chicken or tuna or ham may tempt it to eat. Just leave the food near enough for it to smell and walk away. Often eating a bit of something tasty will then get a cat's appetite going again. Put a cardboard box on its side in there if you can too, cats love a box and if it wants to hide away having a box might make it feel even more secure. Any wooly bit of clothing can also be comforting, something belonging to its owner would be brilliant as cats have a very keen sense of smell, but anything will do. Rescue cats regularly run off and hide in a new home for a few days so it's normal (but really stressful for the humans!)

mineofuselessinformation Sat 20-Apr-19 23:15:31

Assuming it is night where you are, close the door and leave it be. Tomorrow you could try sitting in the room on the floor and just see if it will come out - it may or may not.
Do you want to adopt it? Or will the neighbour come home?
If no to both questions, you need to contact your neighbour if they are well enough and ask them what they want you to do.

LikeDolphinsCanSwim Sat 20-Apr-19 23:16:51

That’s normal for a cat that finds itself in a strange place. In a few days it will be exploring the house and demanding food.

slipperywhensparticus Sat 20-Apr-19 23:19:22

Do you get Amazon they do feliway and stuff on there I bought some treats to relax the cats they really work and turn them into sleepy muppets

saraclara Sat 20-Apr-19 23:19:38

If it can be caught and put in a travelling basket, it would be much happier taken back to its own home, with you coming in and out to put food down for it.

saraclara Sat 20-Apr-19 23:20:26

(I'm assuming the neighbour is in hospital?)

Shinygoldbauble Sat 20-Apr-19 23:21:13

The neighbour will definitely want the cat home if possible. I've just been updated by another neighbour that she is doing better than expected. If we can get cat back to where she belongs this other neighbour will go in every day to take care of it.

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Honeyroar Sat 20-Apr-19 23:21:57

Cats hide when scared, and stay there until they feel safer. They don't take risks. Our cats hid for a week when we got them (scared of the dogs).

But as an aside, won't the airing cupboard get too warm? Could you leave the door cracked open so it can get into the bedroom? Leave a bit of food and water and give him time and he'll relax.

Shinygoldbauble Sat 20-Apr-19 23:25:59

We don't have the heating on so it's just regular room temperature in there.

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Fluffycloudland77 Sun 21-Apr-19 08:07:05

It’ll be fine. It will keep itself alive in there if you provide food/ water and a tray.

Shinygoldbauble Tue 23-Apr-19 10:16:02

We are making very slow progress. He is eating a little more and using the litter box but cannot be coaxed down from his high perch.

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Fluffycloudland77 Tue 23-Apr-19 20:26:51

It’s very early days yet. Cats are almost allergic to change.

When does the owner come home.

HoppityChicken Tue 23-Apr-19 22:52:03

Slow blink at him, see if he blinks back at you the same way. It's a friendly gesture to a cat and helps build trust. Keep doing it every time he can see you - animal rescue places do this with scared cats.

Shinygoldbauble Mon 29-Apr-19 21:57:14

Finally, some real progress. He is eating plenty now and this evening actually cried for food and came down and ate it while we were watching. He even allowed dd to touch him. He is really nervous though so we didn't try to catch him yet.

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