Help! Advice about our missing girl

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P Cat
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Help! Advice about our missing girl

Post by P Cat » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:37 pm

Hi, I’m new to the forum and desperately need some advice.

We adopted our little cat Pinga from the Cat’s Protection almost 3 months ago; she was previously a stray found living in a log pile in someone’s back garden.

She’s a friendly little thing who loves being made a fuss off, with one of the loudest purrs I’ve ever heard. She’s young, about 2 years old, is very playful and loves hunting. She's confident in the house (although hates loud noises) but seems timed away from her home territory. We saw her once in a nearby field, called her, but she slunk off, when we arrived home a few minutes later she was waiting for us outside the front door.

She’s been going outside now for 2 months. Initially she’d hang around near the house and would be inside more than out, wanting a fuss made of her, to play and the occasional cuddle. At night she’d fall asleep snuggling on our bed, then throughout the night pop in and out as she pleased. To get her home for dinner, all we’d have to do was stand at the door, clack her food bowls and call ‘din dins’. As her confidence and territory grew she came indoors less often and wouldn’t always come home for breakfast. However, she was still coming home every evening for dinner and would still want to play and be made a fuss off. She never broke the habit of falling asleep snuggling in our bed and then coming and going throughout the night. Occasionally she‘d appear and cuddle on the sofa for hours. She enjoys her food, when I mentioned ‘din dins’ she’d run excitedly to the kitchen with her little tail straight up, doing the happy twitch. She’d cry and beg, and when eating purr away in contentment.

All was going great, until we went on holiday. I thought the kindest thing was to keep her at home rather than take her to a cattery (I now hate myself for this decision). My brother moved into the house, Pinga was still coming home for a fuss, play and her dinner, although he did say she seemed to be looking for us quite a lot, regardless, it seemed to be going well. At the weekend my brother went camping, he left her with loads of food, and was only gone for one night. When he returned there was no sign of her and she hasn’t been home since. I’m not sure why she left; I guess I’ll never know.

We’ve made flyers, gave them to the neighbour’s and put them through letterboxes over a wide area; we’ve also put up laminated posters in the local woods and a nearby village. I got in touch with her vet, her microchip company, animal search UK, SSPCA and Cat’s Protection. The later have given us a humane trap. We’ve been out at various times of the day and night, spending about 2-5 hours each day searching and calling. We’ve even tried hanging items with her and my scent on the washing line and left food outside overnight, which was eaten by a neighbour’s cat.

We live in a rural location and are surrounded by paddocks and fields with hundreds of potential hiding spots. My suspicion is that she’s set up a new home close by. Every so often one of the neighbours thinks they might have spotted her. We’re 95-99 % sure we saw her ourselves. One night about a week and a half ago we were out calling her and spotted eyes in our torch beam. I went one direction and my boyfriend the other. The little cat in question jumped into the field a little distance from where I was standing, I called her name and she came running towards me (my boyfriend also says he heard some timid meows), she then got frightened and slunk down, I called again and she ran towards me. Unfortunately, I wanted to make a positive identification and kept shining the torch at her and also raised my voice in excitement, at the last minute she got scared and ran off. We set up the humane trap in this area, but so far it’s not been successful.

Since this we haven’t heard or seen her. I have no idea what to try next, as searching and calling doesn’t seem to be working. However, I’m scared that if I don’t keep it up, she’ll forget about us and become a stray again. I’ve heard so may conflicting stories, I don’t know whether she’s out enjoying the ‘hunt’ and will just appear back when she’s ready, if she’s now living with another family, or has gone into ‘scaredy cat’ mode and is too fearful to ever come home. It’s killing me, I cry every day as I miss her so much. I know we haven’t had her long, but I fell in love with her very quickly. I can’t bear the thought that I’ve let her down and now my little friend might be having to fend for herself again.

Please, any advice / suggestions will be so gratefully received.
Last edited by P Cat on Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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meriad
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Re: Help! Advise about our missing girl

Post by meriad » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:58 pm

First off I would definitely keep up with the calling her and clanging the food bowls and leave food out for her if you can (is she chipped and cat flap trained?). Also if you've still got her bedding hang that on the line and hopefully she'll pick up a bit of a familiar scent.

I'm not sure where in the country you are, but down here where I am (Surrey) the past few weeks have been really warm and there are loads of mice / birds etc feasting on the various berries and fruits etc - so food for your girl right now is actually in plentiful supply. But when it turns colder and there is less for her to catch hopefully she'll remember where you are and start coming home again.

If you do have a cat flap and she was used to using it - make sure you have it on a one way lock, ie so she can come in but not get back out again.

Good luck - I really hope that you have your girl back home. If she's still in the area I'm sure she'll find someone to feed her when it turns cooler so just keep reminding the various houses in the area to keep an eye open for her.

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Re: Help! Advise about our missing girl

Post by P Cat » Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:25 pm

Thanks! She's chipped and has been using her cat flap, unfortunately she hasn't got used to pushing it open with her head, so it's currently propped open. I don't think she's been inside the house, I've left food out every day and it hasn't been touched, I've also been checking her favourite sleeping spots for tell tale hair, but again nothing.

We're near Aberdeen, so the weather's a bit mixed, I was hoping that the heavy rain and wind of yesterday might have got her to come home, but there's been no sign of her. She does love hunting and there's been some harvesting in surrounding field, so she might just be enjoy the abundant prey.

I'll try leaving food out, I'll put the lid of her litter tray over it so that she has somewhere dry to go (if she is visiting the garden but is scared to come into the house), with her favourite toy and some bedding.

I'll also try hanging up her bedding again. If I knew where her outdoor sleeping spots were, I'd camp out and wait for her. I've tried sitting at the spot we saw her, calling her softly from time to time, but it wasn't successful.

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Re: Help! Advise about our missing girl

Post by Lyn from Australia » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:36 pm

I understand perfectly how upset you must be. These funny little creatures are SO easy to fall in love with. You may not be able to keep spending as much time searching and calling for her as you have been, but don't give up altogether too soon. The sound of her food bowls clanging is of course familiar - I always used to call Lily home by shaking her treats - I don't know how she could hear them but she always did. Hopefully as the weather cools down over there you'll see more of her. You are doing everything there is to do, it's now mostly up to her. Adopting a second cat eventually might help you, and be company for her at home (thinking positive here!!!).

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Re: Help! Advice about our missing girl

Post by Crewella » Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:17 am

I agree, don't give up on her too soon. Keep calling and hope that, as the nights draw in, she'll start to appreciate the benefits of a nice warm home and regular food. I would also change the posters every so often, which will let people know she is still missing. People tend to start ignoring old posters, or even take them down if they think they are no longer serving a purpose.

I really hope she turns up.

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Re: Help! Advice about our missing girl

Post by P Cat » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:50 am

Thanks for the encouraging words, I'm overjoyed as we found Pinga yesterday :D . She was in a small wood less than 1/2 km from the house.

I was calling her and thought I heard some faint meows, went to investigate, the meows got very loud and she popped out from behind some rocks, it was a very happy reunion on both sides.

She’s lost a bit of weight and has been wanting a lot of reassurance and cuddles (which are happily being provided), but otherwise seems fine.

I’m not sure if she got herself a bit lost or was choosing not to come home.

When we found each other she was with another cat, I never saw it, but could hear it calling in between her cries. Not sure if it’s a local farm / neighbour’s cat, feral or stray. After we got Pinga home, my boyfriend went back to investigate, he heard something drop to the ground with a thump and found some fresh poo, both might have been from a cat, but also might have been from a fox.

I’m going to keep her inside for a few days and have ordered a gps locator for her.

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Re: Help! Advice about our missing girl

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:28 pm

Wonderful news! I'm very happy for you and Pinga. Might I suggest you keep her inside for a good couple of weeks. With the colder and dsrker weather coming it's not the time for her to go wandering again. Maybe even once she's going out again, close the flap at night. So glad your awful worry is over.

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Re: Help! Advice about our missing girl

Post by Crewella » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:41 am

Oh yay, I'm so pleased she's back! Yes, keeping her in for a couple of weeks is a good idea. :)

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Re: Help! Advice about our missing girl

Post by meriad » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:35 am

Oh what fantastic news - so very happy for you. And I wholeheartedly agree with keeping her in for a good few weeks; not just a few days.

Wonder if that other cat is a stray - will you try and find it?

Fusses to Pinga, so glad she's back home :D

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Re: Help! Advice about our missing girl

Post by Batfink » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:05 pm

I love a happy ending :D it made me cry as I remember searching and searching for a cat we lost many years ago. We never saw any sign of him so I'm so pleased for you.

Do you think you will look for the other cat?

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Re: Help! Advice about our missing girl

Post by Lyn from Australia » Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:59 pm

Congratulations. What wonderful news. I agree, I love happy endings like this. I've been through this type of thing myself and the feeling of relief is the best thing ever.

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