Missing cat

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Marko Berg, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    My cat has been missing exactly 72 hours now. It appears he slipped out the door while our family was preparing to visit relatives. We were gone for about four hours but only really took notice of the cat not being present the following morning. I live on the third floor in an apartment building, and the cat must have slipped into the hallway and immediately climbed up one flight of stairs, otherwise I would have noticed him on my way down as I was the last one out the door. One of the residents must have let him out the front door of the building on purpose or perhaps the cat slipped out after someone went out or came in.

    He is a seven-year-old castrated male cat but quite active and always ready to take a walk outside in a leash. He has tried to sneak out into the hallway on his own many times before so I'm not surprised he did this.

    We've interviewed the neighbours but they claim they haven't seen anything. Some weren't aware that we had a cat in the apartment. Nobody has confessed to letting the cat outside. At this point I am assuming he is outside - he is most certainly not in the apartment and there aren't any places in the hallway he could hide undetected this long.

    So far, I've done the following to try to locate him:
    - Searched for him and called his name everywhere I can think of in the immediate area. He is shy and will stay away from strangers but I could probably scoop him up outside myself. He also doesn't like to move outside during the day and is likely to only come out of hiding when it gets dark which is why I've tried to search for him at all hours, including the middle of the night. In addition, he is totally white so he's easy to spot even after dark.
    - Called the local stray animal centre to give them his description. If he is found and turned over to stray animal authorities, he will end up there and they will contact me.
    - Called the police to verify nobody has asked to pick up a stray cat in the area.
    - Put his bowl in the lobby by the front door to have a meal waiting for him. The front door is ajar so that he can slip into the hallway again. (I tried to put his bowl outside at first but snails in the grass found the food during the night, and after I removed them, birds found the bowl in the morning.)
    - Posted in the lobby an explanation of the bowl and the reason for keeping the building door ajar to keep residents from closing the door.
    - Put up fliers in all apartment building hallways in the area, as well as taped them to windows of phone booths, a nearby church, a petrol station, two daycare centres, two supermarkets, and a railway station. Also distributed about 100 additional fliers last night directly to mailboxes of single-family homes in the area where he might be wandering. The fliers specify that the phone number may be called at any time, day or night, and a reward is promised. I'll distribute about 300 fliers more after work today for maximum visibility.

    Addtionally, I've been thinking of doing the following:
    - Take his leash with me while searching to dangle in my hand. He recognizes the sound and always gets excited at the prospect of a walk outside. He doesn't have a problem wearing the leash; I'm hoping he thinks of it as something that brings security to him while outside.
    - Take outside empty cans of tuna the cat ate and open the bottoms. I have a large collection of tin cans in a big box waiting to be taken to a recycling centre. The cat would have to be dead not to hear that sound - usually he's there in a second when a tin can is being opened.
    - Considering a stunt that will get me on the evening news, such as painting the words CAT MISSING and my phone number on the side of a nearby water tower [​IMG]

    I know there are many cat owners here at the HTF. Other than the above, is there anything I should try? If you know of successful methods to catch a cat that has gone missing, please share the information here.

    While the cat might still be enjoying his escapade and could very well come back on his own after a few more days, I'd rather get him back as early as possible. The Scandinavian weather, while still relatively agreeable, must be considered. I am also worried about him being hit by a car or getting eaten by a fox - I know there are a few living very near us.
     
  2. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

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    I pray you find your kitty. I have two, and they're my pride and joy. Tux and Odo are both housecats; I see so many unfortunates lying on the side of the road I have nightmares about them getting out.

    I think you're doing everything you can. Again, my prayers are with you for his safe return.
     
  3. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Our cat got out once. What we did was leave our door slightly open all night so she could come back in if she wanted to. Luckily, our bedroom had a door directly to the outside so we could kinda listen for her and we lived in pretty much crime free area. She finally came back around 3am and was moewing outside the door. We had to coax her in, but she made it. You may want to camp out in the room closest to your door and monitor for him during the night time since it sounds like he would be most active then. But I don't know how safe your neighborhood is, so leaving your door ajar might not be an option for you. Good luck with finding him regardless. You may want to put his food bowl closer to your door rather than in the lobby. Just a thought. BTW, whats his name?
     
  4. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    Just got home after distributing fliers for a few hours. I expanded distribution to another residential area that is separated from ours by a small forest. Also left fliers at more supermarkets, another railway station, several bus stops, a football field, and other places where a large number of people can be expected to see them.

    I'm also starting to get some results, three people have called with tips and while one didn't lead to anything two similar tips from the same area are looking more promising. Tomorrow we'll search for the cat there and distribute more fliers in the area. In addition, a friendly taxi driver lives in the same building and he has been spreading the word among his colleagues. This is good because the taxis drive at night too while most other people are asleep and since the cat is mostly active at night, someone might spot him.

    Oh, and since I'm here on the Net, I've sent his description to a virtual stray animal shelter where one can leave messages about both lost and found stray animals. I've also posted on two different animal lover sites in the appropriate forums to give his description.

    Moving his food bowl next to our door is probably a better idea than leaving it in the lobby. The apartment is separated from the hallway by two doors but I'm keeping the inner door open at all times and should easily be able to hear him scratching or meowing. The area is safe and the lobby door isn't kept locked during the day, but I still don't dare leave all doors wide open. Thanks for the suggestions.

    EDIT: The cat's name is Molli.
     
  5. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Don't lose hope, Marko.. we lost our cat once and she was found trapped in the basement of a vacant home a few blocks away two weeks later.

    She had climbed in through an open window and couldn't get back out. Luckily a cat-loving furnice repair man had come along and found her and checked around the neighborhood. One of the neighbor's still had our flyer we had passed out a week earlier.
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've had cats disappear for weeks on end and finally find their way home, don't lose hope.

    I once moved from one apt to another 5 miles away. A few days later my beloved Sylvester disappeared. He was gone a couple of days when I got a call from my former neighbor, telling me he'd found his way back to the old apt.

    Hoping Molli is soon safe at home!
     
  7. JamesMH

    JamesMH Stunt Coordinator

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    I wish you the best in getting him back.
    Cats are quite smart, if he looked out the window a lot, he'll proberbly have some idea where he is.

    We lost a cat once, found it a few miles away in a pub.
     
  8. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    I'm resurrecting this thread to announce that the cat is back.

    This morning I found him in the trap that I had on loan from the local animal shelter. Thanks to the fliers distributed during the past few weeks, I received several dozen phone calls and although some reports turned out to be about two different cats, I was able to fairly accurately map an area where to try trapping him. It looks like he never got very far from home, and after a few very helpful and reliable phone calls I was able to pinpoint the area he seemed to stay in nearly every night. I set the trap and used fresh fish to lure him in. It took about a week - I think he was aware of the trap and the food inside but he was probably too suspicious at first to try to get it. Finally, he was apparently too hungry to resist.

    He was gone for more than four weeks. He's lost some weight and is fairly dirty, but otherwise he seems to be in good condition. It doesn't look like he got into any serious fights with other cats or any other animals. Tonight, I'll wash him with vermin-killing shampoo and start treating him for worms. Thankfully I made sure he's had his rabies and other shots periodically even though he stays in most of the time and has little contact with other animals.

    So far he's eaten his own weight of cat food and it looks like he's going to sleep for a month. [​IMG]
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Marko,

    Congrats! YAY! My kitty disappeared for a couple hours the other night and I was a wreck... I can't imagine if he was gone for a month.

    Great happy ending.

    -V
     
  10. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Wow, congratulations Marko, nice to have a happy ending. [​IMG]

    Jay
     
  11. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Wow, that's a great ending to your story!!!

    I hadn't seen your thread originally and was hoping that a happy ending would be there by thread's end.

    If only cats could talk, I'm sure he'd have some stories to tell.
     
  12. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Great news, Marko!

    But, get your cat checked out by a vet. Our cat, after being trapped in a vacant house for two weeks, was so dehydrated and starved, the shock to her system caused her to become diabetic. We had to give her insulin shots daily(it's not as bad as it sounds.. but it's expensive!).

    Sounds like your cat was roaming free, though. So he's probably downed a couple of mice or birds. Have him checked for worms.
     
  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Vince: Did your cat get lost here in Los Angeles? JB
     
  14. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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    Even though I'm not a cat lover due to allergies, it was still nice to see that your cat was found. I hope it's doing better.

    My stepmom's cat, a few years ago, walked out the door one day and never came back. She was pretty old by that point so I imagine she probably died somewhere in the woods by my dad's house.

    Anyone else here allergic to just cats and not any other animals? I don't know if it's common or not. I've never had any problems with dogs, gerbils, or rabbits, just cats.

    I'm glad to hear your cat's back Marko. [​IMG]
     
  15. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Yes and no. After I moved out here, I flew my kitty out here to live with me. I live in a big house with several roomates- and they are all cool with my cat (he's super friendly and has tons of personality)-- so he kinda just roams the house.

    On Wednesday nights my roomate has a party to watch LOST (my roomie is an Agent and reps one of the stars of the show...)-- anyway- I normally make myself scarce on these evenings. I popped in real quick a couple weeks ago during their gathering- and my cat wasn't around...

    They had all seen him during the evening- but he was MIA. My cat has always been an indoor cat- so I'm not really comfortable with him going outside (he's about 7-8 and has never dealt with streets or traffic or even other animals). After searching the house for 10 minutes I was pretty sure someone accidentally let him outside with guests coming/going.

    So I got a flashlight and started frantically searching the neighborhood around my house. Thankfully at one point of seaching and calling, I heard the faint sound of his meow-- seemingly coming from the neighbor's backyard (which is walled in).

    I couldn't get into their yard, and they didn't answer the door- so I paced frantically back and forth in my driveway- calling and listening, trying to locate him.

    After about 10 minutes myself and my search party realized that the sound of his meow semmed to actually be coming from my house. It turned out that someone had opened the basement door for some reason, and he had slipped into the basement and into the crawlspace under the house (and was meowing at me from behind the bricks of the house foundation!)

    So, it turned out he never actually got outside the house- but for an hour I was frantic- searching every inch of the house and the yard. My cat is a giant baby- he's spent his whole life indoors and is HUGE (he's about 30 pounds)-- so I get worried about his ability to keep himself out of trouble if he managed to wander outside.

    Again, I cannot imagine what a wreck I'd be if I couldn't find him even for an evening- let alone a month!

    -V
     
  16. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    That fella weighs 30 pounds? Wow.
     
  17. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I'm glad you got your cat back and there's a happy ending to this story.

    I wanted to make one comment about one of your avenues of searcing for him, calling the local shelter and leaving a description.

    Many, many shelters across the country get countless strays into their system. I don't think it is realistic to expect a shelter to be on the lookout for a particular cat and call the owner when they think they have. Shelters are usually underfinanced and understaffed.

    If that isn't enough, if the staff is anything like it is at animal services in Little Rock, they won't care whether you find your cat. Its much simpler for them to keep the cat until its date it up and then put it down.

    When it comes to finding your lost cat at a shelter, it is best to make frequent personal visits to see the cats they have.
     
  18. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    Dave:



    Perhaps silica was once stored at the now vacant house? [​IMG]

    In all seriousness, thank you for the good advice. I did notice the cat has been drinking more water today than usual - he usually drinks very little - so he is probably dehydrated too. I'll keep monitoring him and consider taking him to see a vet after the weekend, although he's been eating a lot and that could explain the thirst. He keeps checking his bowl at least once an hour, as if he still can't believe there's food available at any time.

    Vince: I'm glad you found your cat. The first week my cat was missing I had trouble sleeping properly and would often wake up at 3am and go search for him outside with a flashlight but had to return home frustrated every time.

    Also, the three first phone calls I received after distributing fliers were from motorists calling on cell phones about a dead cat by the motorway that is just a ten-minute walk from my home. Although they passed the site at high speed during rush-hour traffic, the description they could give partially matched my cat, and I was very worried. As I walked along the side of the road towards the site I was choking up, preparing myself for the possibility I might find my cat dead. (I never found this dead cat, somebody must have removed the body before I got a chance to comb the area after work.)

    My four-year-old son, who is very fond of the cat, is also extremely happy to have the cat back. I tried to keep the hope up these past few weeks but before the cat was found, we discussed the possibility he might never return home and I saw a flicker of terror in his eyes. Naturally, he thinks of losing the cat as losing a dear toy, whereas an adult would worry more for the cat's well-being. Still, he gets stressed just like an adult does, and we are all relieved now that the cat is back.

    Also noticed it's difficult to change your habits if you've had a cat for many years. During the past weeks, for instance, I caught myself checking his bowl even though there was no cat to be fed. I also sub-conciously kept closing some doors while leaving others ajar to keep the cat from escaping while making sure he had access to his litterbox etc.
     
  19. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    "so he is probably dehydrated too. I'll keep monitoring him and consider taking him to see a vet after the weekend"

    One way to check is to pinch (not hard) the skin on the back of his neck (scruff) ... like a mommy cat would do to pick a kitten up. If the skin returns to its position quickly, seems elastic, then he's probably not tooooo dehydrated. If the skin stays in the pinched mode and takes a few seconds to return, he's probably pretty dry.

    Unfortunately excessive drinking can be a sign of some poison ingestion too, so you might not want to wait to go to the vet ... a wait could be too long ....
     
  20. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    Missed the original post, but checked hoping to see good news...Excellent news Marko!
     

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