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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm not sure if this technically falls under 'feral cats' or if it should go in the 'behavior' area, but either way I hope I can get some help.

I have been taking care of a colony of cats that were born outside. After getting them fixed and vaccinated I was able to socialize two of them and decided to move them over to my neighborhood so they could have more room to romp and play since I have a big backyard and shed for them to sleep in.

I moved them and let them out last night, and they didn't seem distressed. They were pretty curious and played around the backyard for hours. They lounged under the bushes, sat by the pond, and just mulled about. I went outside around midnight (6 hours after I released them) and the male had ran off! Normally he comes running when I call, but only his sister showed up. I walked all around the neighborhood trying to find him but no luck.

I am curious: why did he suddenly run? I would think if he was going to disappear he would have done it as soon as I released him instead of hanging around his new home for a few hours. Also, why did his sister stay if he ran off?

I'm really upset and been awake all night. How do I find this little guy? I know he was born in the wild and lived outside, and this is a very quiet, pet friendly neighborhood away from busy streets but still I am so scared for him. Should I take his sister back to her old home or leave her here just in case she tempts him into coming back?
 

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It's difficult to relocate feral cats. No matter how nice the new area is, they often try to return to their old one.

Confining cats to one room of your house or a secure shed or garage for at least two weeks is the usual procedure.

How far did you move them?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I read that after the fact. I feel so terrible, the thought I probably caused the little guy harm because he wants to go home while I was trying to help protect him...

I moved him 9 miles. I moved him because where his colony was there was a not very nice guy who lived on that street and it was a street between two very busy roads. Is it possible he is trying to go home? Why did his sister stay? Should I take her home too?
 

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No; at least one stayed and her brother might still turn up.
Spend time with her and give her some canned food - cats love it - to increase the chances of her staying put.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I will buy some canned food for her. She was spooked by a dog being walked earlier, so she's gone into hiding. I have definitely been loving on her and playing with her, and there is plenty of food out.

Anything I can do until then? I still haven't been to bed, I'm so worried. At the old place he didn't stray further than a few houses away. I hope he's just hiding in some bushes. Is it too soon to put up fliers?
 

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What you have going for you is that he was a tamed feral, so you're right, he could just be lying low for now. A true feral would just take off if released in a strange place.

Still, he had very little time to get his bearings and apply his scent to the area. He could be right in the neighborhood but just lost.

Yes, I would get the fliers out right away, before he strays any further.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A bit of an update: My roommate said she saw the cat stalking/chasing something in the yard last night right before he disappeared, so the signs are pointing to he just ran too far and can't find his way back. His sister is still here and happy.

Fliers are going up tomorrow and I alerted many neighbors to his disappearance. The plus of this street is its very quiet, the negative is there are too many bushes for him to hide!
 

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I feel so terrible, the thought I probably caused the little guy harm because he wants to go home while I was trying to help protect him...
Don't feel bad even for a moment. You're his mommy for a reason: you know better than him where his own good lies. That's why you are his protector. It is not that "he wants to go home"; it's his instinct making him feel safer in the other place (because it's the only place he knows well), regardless of the reality being the opposite. From my experience with Prince, I know that after a couple weeks closed in the new place, they feel happy in the new place and it's home for them. But you have to trap him and keep him for at least 2 weeks in a closed place he can't get out of, for the relocation to work.

Congratulations on your wonderful heart. What you did for these two cats is admirable.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Saw him last night again. I have his sister in our screened in porch. He was sniffing her through the screens but ran every time I tried to call him or go near. Its like he forgot who I am! Makes me sad but at the same time very happy he's coming around. Seems he has made pals with the other strays in the neighborhood.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I see the boy every night in the backyard now. I try to approach him but he runs away! Its like he doesn't even know who I am! I try calling for him when he runs but he doesn't turn back. If he even sees me he runs off... very unlike him! Has he forgotten me? I would think he would know my scent when he runs past me.

How do I get him to come to me?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
He came home!! :p Berry was outside, sitting on my porch. He ran up to me like he hadn't seen me in a long time and was very happy. He's inside the screened in porch with his sister now.
 

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So glad he's back! Don't let him out again for at least a few weeks. That'll teach him what his territory is.
 
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