Scared Cats: Cat Back Home After 4 Months On The Street

by Kathy


Our 2 year old cat ran out the front door 4 months ago and we found him yesterday! Absolutely unbelievable! He has been on his own in the city all of that time. He clearly knew us but was very scared. Tonight we caught him with a Have a Heart Trap. My question is how to help him feel ok again. We can't take him to the vet until tomorrow morning and have another cat (his littermate brother) so we have to keep him in a separate room until he is checked out. He seems healthy but is just sitting there crying. He will let us pet him and purrs and rolls around like he always did, but he is so scared. I just wondered what kinds of things to expect when a cat has been outside like that for so long. Thank you!!

Dear Kathy

I am overjoyed that your cat came home! I have been in your situation and I know how that feels.

The actions that you describe are actually good signs. Of course, he is scared. He has every reason to be. But he is safe in your home with you now. Talking quietly to him and petting him gently and spending as much time with him as possible is the right thing to do.

Also, you are very smart to keep him separated from any other cats. He needs a complete exam by a veterinarian as well as a feline leukemia test and a feline immunodeficiency virus test. He also needs to be closely examined for things like fleas and ear mites and should have his stool checked for intestinal parasites. If he has any of these conditions, it's only fair to your other
kitty that those conditions be addressed before letting them have contact with each other.

The fact that he is purring and rolling around is very positive. It sounds like he is the type of kitty that is going to recover from his fear rather quickly and you are the type of owner that will help him do that. Just keep everything low key, quiet and soft.

I assume he is eating or you would have mentioned that he isn't. By all means, give him food and water. However, if he has not had enough food in a long while, he may eat too much too fast and vomit. It would be best to give him small meals right now.

Can he sleep in a room with a family member and keep your other kitty out instead of him sleeping alone tonight? I think that would be very reassuring to him.

He may indeed be a bit nervous and startle more easily over the next days or weeks, but that will pass and he will get back to normal. The other thing that usually happens is that when he and his brother are finally put back together, don't be surprised if they hiss at each other and take some time to become friendly again. That is normal and will also pass. The less fuss you make about it, the better.

Congratulations. Your story has a happy ending and I'm sure will put smiles on the faces of all our readers!

Feel free to write back with questions or let me know how he is doing. Thank you!
Dr. Neely

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