Missing Cat- Possibility of Return

by Asma

Rajkumar, (Prince in Hindi),  One Month Old

Rajkumar, (Prince in Hindi), One Month Old


My 9 month old tom cat is missing since the past 4 days. He was in heat, and was visibly upset when my other cat, a queen, was aggressive at his approaches. The night before he was gone, I heard unusually violent hissing from outside( i lock them outside, as the Indian climate doesn't encourage an indoor litter box so they are trained for outdoor relief). Since I was half asleep I thought it was another confrontation between my two cats and din't check. He must have gone away then.

The three reasons I can think of his disappearnce are: 1.A fight with the queen frustrated him so he left looking for someone else 2.Fight with another fully grown stray tom who is mating with my queen, which could have frightened him.3.Normal mating search.

I am very anxious for his return. He is very home dependant for food, he can't even try to catch a cockroach without being frightened. He is not able to defend himself from other cats, i know this as he always used to run away at the sight of the other tom cat. He is also afraid of automobiles even at a distance. So if he wants to return during the daytime it's not possible, as we live in a busy commercial area. It's pretty quite at night though. He is very very cute, so I'm afraid some one else might adopt him.

Will he remain with them if given a comfortable home? Or come back here where he was broght up and loved since birth? How long do cats take to come back? If not returning, will he at least learn to take care of himself? Waiting for your reply.

Dear Asma,

I am SO sorry your kitty is missing. Your story is very sad. I read it to my technician and we are both close to tears.

Unfortunately, there are no definite answers. I know from personal experience that worrying about a missing cat is more painful than mourning the death of one.

I have known missing cats to return home in 1 day, a few days, a week, a month, or several months. You cannot be sure it will ever happen, but do not give up hope.

When I have had a missing cat, I have posted flyers on every street corner for a mile or more in every direction. I also call all vet hospitals to see if anyone has brought a cat in that was lost or injured. I go to all the animal shelters around and look personally through the cats that are there and go back repeatedly for awhile.

I would not rely on just hearing from someone on the telephone that a certain cat is not there. My dog was missing once many years ago and the shelter said there was absolutely no dog there fitting her description. We went there to look anyway and there she was.

I would also walk the streets in all directions every day and particularly at night for awhile calling his name.

Not just your cat, but many cats tend to be frightened even if they are not very far away and thus they don't come out of hiding. I have known cats to spend days just under bushes around a house because they are frightened even when they hear the owner's voice or are approached by the owner.

His desire to mate most likely made him wander off a bit. He could have gone too far and lost his way back home. He could have been attached by another cat and could be hiding in fright. In spite of his fear of cars, there is the possibility a car struck him or an animal hurt him so badly he died. I don't mean to make you feel worse, but we have to face the possibilities.

If someone took him in and fed him and gave him a good home, it is very possible he would stay there. I know that thought is sad for you because you would rather have him home with you, but it is a better outcome than some of the other possibilities.

Also, I'm sure he is more capable of finding food for himself than you think. He didn't have to because you were supplying it, but left to his own resources, it is quite likely his natural instincts of survival will take over and he will find a way to eat.

Again, I am so sorry. Do everything in your power to search for him and to let everyone in your neighborhood know he is missing. I wish you all the best in your efforts. Please let me know if he comes back.

Thank you,
Dr. Neely

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