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Cat disappearing all day and night

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Ras, Aug 26, 2019.


  1. Ras

    Ras PetForums Newbie

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    Help.. my cat Jade is a rescue cat roughly 1 year and a few months old. We've had her since the end of Jan when she was 8/9 months old. In the past few weeks she has started disappearing. As soon as she is fed and let out in the morning she pretty much legs it! Up and over fences...she's gone. She won't come back the whole day and as we don't have a cat flap have had to close the door and go to bed at night. She comes back in the morning and wolf's down her food. Though once she didnt come back till noon.
    Before the summer holidays I was leaving her home all day and letting her out when i got back.. since I've been home all summer the door has been open and she has got more and more reclusive.
    She doesn't come back when I call her like I used to in the evening.
    I don't want her out at night. What can i do?
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Ras and welcome :)

    Can you not fit a cat flap so she can come and go as she pleases in the daytime? Then at night you set it on "in only" so she can get in the house but can't get out again. An outdoor cat needs to be able to get back into the safety of their home; it is not good for them to be shut out all night (or all day) and it can lead to them wandering off.

    My suspicion is that your cat may be going to one of your neighbours and spending her days and nights there. Someone may have taken pity on her if she was outside crying and has taken her in to their home. The risk is they may have started feeding her, and then she might decide one day to stop coming back home at all.

    You could ask all your neighbours if they have seen her hanging around or have had her in their house. They may not own up, mind you!

    I think providing a cat flap is the only way you will get her to come home. You may need also to get a safety-release collar with "Please do not feed" embroidered on it to stop your neighbours feeding her. (the collars are sold on ebay.)

    Good luck.
     
  3. Ras

    Ras PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks I've been thinking the same thing about her being fed by someone else. Only thing is she is such a scared cat, she doesnt go up to strangers at all. So wonder how she would go up to someone new. My back door and windows have been open all day and she doesn't even come back to check in. I've been thinking a cat flap is the next step. Her collar at the moment has our phone number in case she gets lost or has an accident, but the no feeding is a good idea. Any ideas for how I can just get her to come back In the evenings?
     
  4. Ras

    Ras PetForums Newbie

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    Or get her back at any time?
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Have you trained her indoors in recall? It needs to be reward based during the training period. i.e. using high reward treats, go to another part of the house and shake the tin or rattle the packet and call her. Then later go to a different part of the house and call her again. Continue the training for a few days.

    Then try it outdoors. I have trained all my cats to come back when I whistle for them, as being a high pitched the sound carries further than calling, and the cats seem to respond better. But you do need to instill the idea of rewards for them to be motivated to come back. I also do not let my cats go for more than 2 hours without calling them home. Just so I can be sure they are around and are OK.

    Normally I would say, only let your cat out with an empty tummy so she will come back when you call her in for a meal. But in your case I fear she may just go and get a meal elsewhere.

    Perhaps she has been sleeping in someone's shed or greenhouse and the house owner thinks she is a stray. If no-one can get near her they can't get her checked out by a vet for a microchip. People often do put out food for a cat if they think he/she is a stray. Not everyone bothers to check with all their neighbours first as to whether the cat has an owner (even when the cat is wearing a collar with owner's details).

    I think she may have given up coming back to check if she can get in to your home. There were probably many times when she tried to get in and couldn't (at night for example, when the windows and doors were all closed). It will be easier to train her to come back once you have installed a cat flap. Microchipped ones are best and they can be fitted in an outer wall or a door. (Mine are fitted in the wall - took a builder about 2 hrs to fit them)

    The approach will I think need to be multi-faceted to stand a chance of changing her behaviour:

    Training in recall
    Having a cat flap fitted
    A safety snap release collar with "Do not feed"
    Having a diplomatic word with all the neighbours in your street, as well as those with gardens backing on to yours, so they know your cat is not a stray. Show them a photo of your cat.

    It really does need any neighbourhood food sources to be withdrawn, for her to come home for food. Plus the provision of a cat flap. If you go out in the daytime I would leave food for her in a timed autofeeder too, so she never has to go too long without a meal.

    Good luck.
     
    sandy-cat likes this.
  6. Ottery

    Ottery Cat Lady

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    I think it's really important that you get a cat flap. She is probably turning up now at times when the door is shut (at night, when it's cooler) so she's less likely to bother, and more likely to pester neighbours. If she knows she can come and go when she likes, she may come back regularly. But you wont be able to control she decides to return. She may be too far away to hear you call, or she may just decide to ignore you!

    In addition, you may find the seasons/weather help a lot in terms of your cat staying home more. I have one cat who refuses to stay indoors at all in summer, but he spends a lot of time in the house in colder months. If I shut him in, he breaks the cat flap to get out. I've had a lot of cats and never had one like this before, but he's happy so I let him get on with it.
     
    sandy-cat likes this.
  7. sandy-cat

    sandy-cat PetForums Senior

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    I'd agree with the others - if you want your cat to be indoors/outdoors, you do need to get a catflap, ideally one with a curfew mode like the Sureflap Pet Door, which works for most people as it has the option to shut the catflap to exit at certain times.

    Is she neutered and microchipped?

    Can you put a collar on her with an ID tag - which will at least inform others that she is owned? As @chillminx says you can get collars which say "DO NOT FEED" on them - I've used them on Sandy as he has food allergies. This may help.

    @Ottery also makes a good point re weather - come winter I'm sure you will see much more of your cat!
     
    TriTri and Ottery like this.
  8. Ottery

    Ottery Cat Lady

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    I think once a cat has a collar with an ID tag, people (most people, at least) are less likely to offer food, because they know that no matter how insistent the cat is, they are owned and being fed. My outdoorsy cat does visit our friends but he is not remotely interested in being fed by them.

    I agree re the Sureflap, that's what we have and it stops other cats coming in so you never have to worry about that.
     
    sandy-cat likes this.
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