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Why did the cat do this?? (not grooming related)

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  • Why did the cat do this?? (not grooming related)

    The owners aquired this cat and his sister about tlhree years ago. They are not outdoor cats but the male cat has always been desperate to go outside. The owner this past winter would let the cat out for a short while, call him and he would come running home.

    Two weeks or so ago she let the cat out. She called him back in but he didn't return. Hours passed, days passed and no cat. She thought he was attacked by another animal, a car , got lost or was adopted by someone else. She called animal patrol and shelter, no joy.

    Nearly ten days later the owner was tossing bread out from the deck to the birds and out from under the shed about ten feet away comes the cat. He runs to grab the bread and then runs back under the shed. The owner couldn't believe it! All this time the cat has been under the shed, through cold, rain and even snow! She goes to get him and he hisses and kicks up a storm...after much tempting with food she grabs him by the collar, he is kicking and screaming and she brings him back inside. She says she brings the cat inside and he is confused...looking around as though he had never been in the house before. His sister sees him and her fur stands up and she hisses at him as if she never saw him before. After a short while the cat finally settles in and realizing this is his home.

    So, how did this cat not find his way home from a shed not ten feet away from the door to the house? How come he didn't return home when the owner called him as he had so many times before? Why didn't he realize he was home once back inside and why (even now two weeks later) does the other cat still not recognize him? They were pals before and now all they do is hiss and fight.

    Was he scared off under the shed and was too scared to come out but for bird food?

    I have never heard of a cat doing this. I have had cats and they have always found their way home.

  • #2
    Like luggage in an airport carousel, many cats do look alike. Is it possible that it was not their cat after all, but maybe a stray who just LOOKS like their cat?
    Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
    George Sand (1804 - 1876)


    • #3
      Possibly this cat was terribly frightened, maybe attacked by another cat or dog and had fled under the shed for safety. He may have been so traumatized that he was scared to come out from the shed and was even more frightened when forced out. The other cat may have been reacting to the scared cat's energy and he may have smelled quite differently from the way he had before from being under a shed so long.
      Lisa VanVleet, RVT


      • #4
        He had run away from home to live in his bachelor pad under the shed. He was stealing bread to use as bait for catching birds.
        "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
        People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies.

          The cat is their cat as he is home and happy now.

          I think the fear thing sounds most likely. Still, sitting under a shed for over a week in the cold rain when the door to the house was ten feet away...many cats I have owned have gotten a scare but came home.

          This shed could have been a bachlor pad if it weren't for the fact that mice also share the place and the only birds he might have enticed were crows - who attack overall if that was his plan it was a poorly planned out one.


          • #6
            The way I look at it , we do not own cats, Cats own us . Cats are very picky and moody when it comes to attention and desires you may find a cat that is over lovable one moment then completely intolerant of you the next..They seam to have the on my terms mentality. as for disappearing for days on end that is very common for cats to stray .. They really do not need us like a dog does they just tolerate us when they feel the desire for human companionship.


            • #7
              For the same reason some dogs get off the leash or out of the yard and instantly "go wild" and become uncatchable.

              For a month we had a sign posted with pictures of a little Jack Russell that had somehow gotten out of the owner's yard. The dog stayed in the neighborhood but was unapproachable by anyone, including the owner. The owner would spot the dog, whistle and call him, but the dog would bolt and run from her.

              Sadly, we were just informed the dog's body was found washed up nearby on the lakeshore. He apparently went out on the ice as the lake was thawing and fell through.

              I was curious about this phenomenon of dogs going instantly "feral" as when I was a kid we lived out in the country and let our dogs run loose all the time. Nobody went "feral" on us. They all would go "bummin'" but all would come home on their own. They might lark off into the woods and out of sight, but would all show up come suppertime. Nobody ever got lost and none would bolt if we approached them while they were roaming loose.

              Someone explained their theory on this "going feral" that sort of made sense - if from youth a dog (or cat) is not fenced, tethered or kept behind closed doors and is allowed to roam and gradually learn the lay of the land, they get familiar with the outdoor surroundings and learn how to stop and turn around on their own to return to home base. But if from the get-go an animal is stopped by a fence, lead or wall, they don't develop that homing instinct. As a result, when the fence, lead or wall disappears and there is nothing physical there to stop them, they don't know when to stop or how to deal with the unfamiliar sudden absence of a solid boundary. And some of them then go into a panic mode and run from everyone, including familiar people, such as their owners.

              For lack of a better explanation, I go with that one.


              • #8
                Off the cat topic... I worked with this guy who owned a Collie. Had her in the fenced in yard. One day he looked out and she was gone. He lived across the street from a school. He went outside to look for her and could hear the kids screaming louder than normal so he investigated only to find his Collie herding the kids around the playground.

                Nothing happened other than the Collie was redirecting the children...he brought the dog home and was told to ensure she never escaped again. It was a funny story that I thought of just now.


                • #9
                  One of my kitties is mentally a little slow. When she was less than a year old I carried her to my bedroom and for no reason so freaked out. She was actually born underneath my bed and spent most of her life there, but for some reason she panicked. It took her more than a year before she would come back into my room. She is something like 8 years old now and she goes through phases. Once I couldn't get her out of the shed and into the house. Then she went through a phase were she wouldn't leave the house.

                  She just isn't very smart. She hasn't forgotten me yet. Maybe that will be her next phase.
                  "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce


                  • #10
                    Many animals who have never had to fend for themselves forget they are domesticated when they're placed in a position of total freedom. I think the entire hugeness of the outside world just boggles their minds.

                    It's possible that Mr. Kitty had been frightened by being attacked by another cat, a dog, a raccoon. Or he may have been struck by a car and crawled under the shed to lick his wounds and recover. If he was struck in the head, he may not have been thinking right for a while, too.

                    As far as the other cat's reaction when he was brought back inside; that's pretty common. I've noticed in the past, when I had cats, that if I had to leave one at the vets, even just overnight, the other one would throw a hissy fit when I brought him back. We usually had to put up with one minor cat fight before things settled down.

                    It's kind of odd, though. We've all heard tales of cats (and dogs) who have traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of mile to find their way back home. And yet we have cats who can't find their way out from under the front porch (happened with one of mine) and come back in the house.


                    • #11
                      helly i totally agree with you on that one of our cats had gotten out of the apartment somehow....and was sitting in the middle of the steps going up to the second floor of the building! now we live on the first floor! somehow he forgot where to go so someone would notice that he was out there. now when he lived with my hubby at my hubbys dads house he got locked out and managed to go around to a bedroom window (granted he wasnt noticed missing until midafternoon the next day poor guy!) but he knew where he was. here? he was totally boggled! and our one cat kitty...if hes in the house looking out the patio door and you walk up to the patio door from outside...he will hiss at you and run away like he dosnt recognize you. even if you walk right up to the glass and say his name he does the same thing.
                      so...who knows!