A stray I trapped in the house during snow was ok inside for 3 days but is now retreating to the basement. What do I do

I've been feeding her for 1.5 yrs. She was in my house twice b/4-2 nights each time but kept trying to get out and was yelling. She has her own new bed and slept in it b/4. Now, the 4th day in my house, she is not sleeping in the bed, retreating to the basement, not talking to me, not going to the door very much, ignoring me when I call her, hiding so I can't find her, etc. Is she depressed? Should I let her out? She probably will never enter the house again if I let her out. I can't pick her up and can only pet her at arm's length on occasion. She is now running away from me. I don't know much about cat behavior. Thanks.

Asked by Member 1155214 on Feb 14th 2013 Tagged straybehaviorinsidehouse in Behavior & Training
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If you intend to keep her and keep her indoors (which I support) then DO NOT LET HER OUT. Right now if you can I would keep her in a space that is calm and quiet where she can feel safe (the basement might be that place). As long as you don't think there is something medically wrong she probably just needs time. Monitor her eating/drinking and use of the litter box. Don't try to reach for her, engage her in play and talk to her - but let her come to you. This is going to be a very big adjustment and it takes time and patience. You don't say if you have other animals in the house - if so you are going to want to keep them separate for a while especially since she has not been to the vet yet for a checkup. If you don't then this may actually go more smoothly because she doesn't have any competition. Slow and steady wins the race here - and when you feel comfortable she should get to the vet for a proper checkup. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Phoebe answered on 2/14/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

Phoebe's absolutely right. Under no circumstances should you try to grab and hold this cat as you could be very seriously injured. It's possible she is in heat and is yowling to get out and mate. Cats can mate anytime a female is in heat any time of the year. She will probably return to your home to have her kittens. You should also make sure she has no kittens hidden anywhere in your basement. She may also have kittens outside somewhere and that's why she's desperate to get out. I worry if you do have other animals because she could attack them if they wander into her "space". I might be tempted to contact a local shelter or rescue and ask for their advice. Most have experts on handling feral cats on board who could advise you of the best way to handle your situation. I know you are trying to do right by this cat, but without knowledge and training, it can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous experience and you should not undertake it alone.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 2/16/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer