Question re cat

<p>I have a problem and I'm hoping one of you brilliant folks can help me. We got my daughter a kitten two weeks ago. She adopted it from rescue and we were told it's very shy, which it is. My daughter's room is a finished attic, about 900 square feet with eaves. There are two storage areas built into the eaves, but the back walls are unfinished (inside the storage areas, I mean). Somehow at the end of last week, the kitten got into one of the closets and we can not get her out. She comes out to use the box and to eat, but we can't get close enough to her to catch her (she only comes out late at night anyway). As soon as anyone moves or makes a sound, she runs right back in there. We can't physically fit where she is and I'm afraid if we scare her, she will crawl down in between the walls and be lost in the walls of our large, complicated Victorian house. We have the door open to the storage area now, but since it's unfinished, when it cools off it can't be left open. We are completely at our wits' end. Can anyone offer any suggestions?</p>

<p>Possibly you could borrow a humane trap from the humane society and put her food dish in it. Though I'm not sure they have them sensitive enough for a very young kitten--it would be worth calling and asking. At worst, someone may have to sit quietly by storage door and wait at night for the kitten to come to her food or box and then shut off door. If you can catch her I would recommend keeping her in a bath or other small room where she can feel safe and you can easily interact with her in small, frequent, non-threatening sessions.</p>

<p>Keep us posted!</p>

<p>Both my husband and daughter have sat beside the door for two entire nights and no luck. The door is set up in such a way as to close air-tight, so it moves slowly. Oy.</p>

<p>there are some great "traps" used by the SPCA and others for feral cats....no harm done...I bet you could borrow or rent one to get this kitty...</p>

<p>we once had a hamster who escaped and went into the heating duct system....nice big hole in the tubing or whatever. but we got the hamster</p>

<p>the rescue people probably have some connections for a "trap"- basically a cage where door closes behind them when they crawl inside</p>

<p>Leave it alone. As the cat becomes more comfortable, it will get curious. Then it will come out to visit. Don't startle it. Just let it come to you. Be patient.</p>

<p>We have a puppy that did something similar for weeks until we finally solved our problem. Like you, we tried many tactics. What finally worked was the obvious: Block the access point. It helped when we offered an alternate safe location. The main thing with timid animals is they need someplace that is confined, on top as well as on the sides. They need to get under something.</p>

<p>First, how do you lure the kitten to another place so you can block the access point? You might try setting up a confined space under your daughter's bed - maybe a box with one side open, a blanket or towel inside, and a soft stuffed animal that has an interesting scent (maybe food or, if possible, something with the mother cat's smell). </p>

<p>Second, try to cover the opening with a barrier that can be opened out (so the kitten can get out) but can't be pushed in when the kitten tries to return. For instance, a swinging door or cover that only opens out so you don't have to be there to block the opening. Based on your description, it's hard for me to picture the access point in the closet your kitten uses to escape into the attic/walls so I don't know if that would be feasible.</p>

<p>Finally, a little time may allow the kitten to get more comfortable in your home and not feel like escaping. Smart animals are fearful when they are in a new environment but gentle treatment will earn their trust.</p>

<p>"Leave it alone. As the cat becomes more comfortable, it will get curious. Then it will come out to visit. Don't startle it. Just let it come to you. Be patient."</p>

<p>It isn't going to come to us. As time goes on it will be less and less likely to come out on its own. She was an abused cat who is deeply disturbed.</p>

<p>"What finally worked was the obvious: Block the access point. It helped when we offered an alternate safe location. The main thing with timid animals is they need someplace that is confined, on top as well as on the sides. They need to get under something."</p>

<p>See the problem is that the cat won't come past the door except in the middle of the night and she's so fast that we can't get her even in the dark because the person has to be hiding or she won't come out at all. It's all so bizarre. I think she needs a cat whisperer or something.</p>

<p>"She was an abused cat who is deeply disturbed."</p>

<p>A therapist might help.</p>

<p>If the opening she goes into is low enough, you could have her exit directly into a cage or trap. Just have her favorite food inside. She can be caught, just be patient. After you have her out, you may want to consider medication for a while. My cat took Buspar for several months and is a fine well adjusted kitty now.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>Buspar? I'm going to check into that. We want to love and welcome this kitten (she is so beautiful), so a little help might just do the trick. Thank you.</p>

<p>
[quote]

See the problem is that the cat won't come past the door except in the middle of the night and she's so fast that we can't get her even in the dark because the person has to be hiding or she won't come out at all. It's all so bizarre. I think she needs a cat whisperer or something.

[/quote]

Yeah, I get that. That's why you need to block the access - during the day when the cat is still holed up - with something that opens out so the kitten can escape in the night, but that won't let the kitten go back in. Think of it as a swinging door that only swings one way. The kitten can squeeze out but won't be able to squeeze back in. </p>

<p>How big is the opening that you need to cover to block the access? A dog door might work if you have access to one. Just add nails or a piece of wood that lets the door open one way but not the other. If it's a small kitten, you could probably hang a heavy cloth that's weighted on the bottom and sides. It will definitely be trial and error but, as I see it, you don't have much choice.</p>

<p>"If it's a small kitten, you could probably hang a heavy cloth that's weighted on the bottom and sides. It will definitely be trial and error but, as I see it, you don't have much choice."</p>

<p>That just might work. I don't want to do hammering or banging and scare her into the walls. At this point we do know that she is fine, healthy and eating. The alternative horrifies me. Maybe like one of those roman shade things (Magic Shade?) that hang on a curtain rod. We could extend the length of the string and have daughter pull it when kitty (her name is Tink) is on the litter box. What do you think?</p>

<p>It might be worth a try. </p>

<p>We were worried that our puppy would grow and eventually get stuck and not be able to get out. Like us, you probably aren't worried about today or tomorrow but about what happens when Tink is bigger and might not be able to get out. I know you don't want to scare an already frightened, abused kitten. The hard part will be finding the right weight so Tink can move the cloth/shade enough to get out but not enough to get back in (I think that's why weighting the edges is important), unless someone is lucky enough to block the return. I doubt that will happen, though, because Tink is probably relying on smell rather than the other senses. </p>

<p>Another idea might be too gradually move Tink's food/water away from the access point. Even just moving it a few inches every day might give you enough time to block the access point when Tink comes out at night.</p>

<p>Maybe take the cloth idea and put a light rod in a casing at the bottom that would catch on the frame and not allow the cloth to be pushed back into the the doorway--but would let her come out easily? Did I describe that clearly enough? Definately try moving the food and box a little further from the escape also. Try putting a little safe area "nest" like previous poster said near the escape and if she can't get out, maybe she will hole up in there. </p>

<p>How young is she? If she is 3-4mo. or older, she may respond to catnip---and you could sweeten the nest/bedding area with that.</p>

<p>Feliway ... a product that is analgous to the mother cat phernomes. Buy the <em>spray</em> and use it to make a box or a crate or a bed smell like mother cat. There's also a plug-in version that you could use in the room where the cat is kept. </p>

<p>I am using the dog product with my dog that has some separation anxiety and I am seeing huge improvements.</p>

<p>Zoosermom, I am sorry that I can not offer any advice beyond what everyone else has already suggested. I just posted to say that your house sounds way cool - exactly what I'd like to buy, if I could find one at the right price!</p>

<p>I hope the little kitty comes out soon.</p>

<p>I think DRJ is on to something. Moving the food bowl gradually further away from the opening or perhaps even creating more than one eating area spaced out across your d's sleep area will encourage the kitten to spend more time outside of her little hiding place. The more time she is out, the more she will become comfortable. I would try two or three bowls with tiny amounts of tuna located in various places in the room...and then I would leave the kitten alone. Pouncing or chasing may just reinforce the hiding behavior.</p>

<p>(Btw...my grandmother had the same problem with a chihuahua puppy who would hide behind a built in cabinet. The thing was the size of a big mouse...pretty difficult to retrieve.)</p>

<p>I would unwind some yarn in front of her hiding place, and sit at least 10 feet away and twitch it around a bit to lure her out. Kitties find that irresistible!</p>

<p>Oh my heart goes out to you and kitty! Do you have a wildlife rescue organization in your area? Since the door closes only slowly--can you be waiting with a board to slide across the opening so you can block access really fast without waiting for the door to close? I realize this means a sleepless night perhaps for 2 people. </p>

<p>I don't know if yarn will work. You could try one of those wands with suede ribbons at the end. How about a cardboard scratching board covered with catnip right next to the food bowl so that she gets attracted to that long enough to get the barrier across the door? If I am repeating an earlier post, sorry--I am just looking at this late at night and am too tired to read through all the posts. Major cat lover here though who has had lots of kitten adventures in the last year--</p>