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Hi everybody


We've had a rough time the past two months. We have 4 cats and they all get along well. One of them has been sort of a "big mamma" for the three other cats when they arrived. I've had her since she was a kitten and she is 12 years old now. At first she would hiss at the new kitten but then she would take care of it. All the "new" cats are now between 1 and 4 years and really love her.


Two months ago something happened. She lives both in the house and outside and usually stays close to our house (we live in the country and don't have any close neighbors). We had visitors for several days and oldie didn't like that so she ran away for the first time. Our 4-year old cat was depressed for 2-3 weeks and the youngest one kept calling and searching for "mommy".



After a month we found her nearby but she was not herself. She seemed to be fine except it looked like she had been injured in her face but it was healing up nicely. And her behavior... well, she was acting as if she didn't know any of us or any of the other cats. I'm thinking the reason she didn't come home has something to do with that injury. After a week she was more like herself but we kept her in for a month. It was almost impossible because she is used to going outside and really wanted to.



Today she is her good old self again, healthy and likes the other cats again but it seems she has gotten used to going to the place we found her and it is hard to keep her home. If we let her out she'll go there when she's done hunting and perhaps come home after a day or two. We don't want to take her freedom either and she'll just jump out a window or run through the door when she really wants to go out to hunt. What do we do?



Every time she dissappears the other cats act differently and my children are off course sad and I'm worried. It doesn't help on the situation that she has a very bad hearing. I need to be very close to her to call her home. Also the place she goes requires for her to cross a road and with the bad hearing I'm afraid one day she doesn't hear a car coming.



Any ideas what we can do?
 

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I think you might have to keep your elder cat in now. She won't like it but Maybe you can get her used to a harness . This just doesn't sound safe for her. Right now I have my indoor/outdoor cats confined to rooms due to some safety issues. They don't like it but I have to do what I can do.
 

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I agree with cat owner again about keeping her in, especially as she's older and losing her hearing. That makes her vulnerable not just to cars but to any predators that might be in the area.

However, I would also get her checked at the vet. Kitties who want to be by themselves or who are desperate to go out may be in pain. They hide pain so well that we often don't see any symptoms until it's quite severe. Any injury or medical issue would also make her more vulnerable outdoors.

Can you see anything about the area where she prefers to go that could explain why it attracts her?

Trying to get her to go out on a leash and harness is a great idea. One of my kitties loved this once she figured out that it was the only way she was getting outside.

Or, if you're willing, you could build a catio or enclose an area outside so that she can still go out but can't roam too far.
 
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