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My long-lost, presumed dead barn cat walks in...8 months later!!!

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  • My long-lost, presumed dead barn cat walks in...8 months later!!!

    What a shock out at the barn tonight! I was happily feeding the horses when I heard a loud, pitiful meow. Looked up to see my barn cat, who I hadn't seen in eight months. Poor little Freckles is so skinny you can see every bone in her body (and a few organs, probably). I'd given her up for dead ages ago, so I didn't have any cat food. A can of tuna and some dog food were the best I could come up with; they were scarfed up in dramatic fashion.

    This cat is three or four years old, spayed and was born here. I have no idea where she's been for so long or why she suddenly chose today to make an appearance. But she looks like she hasn't been fed in several of those eight months. I live by a big forest, but still, how on earth did this kitty survive a terrible winter by herself? And what possible reason could she have had for not coming home? I can't help but feel terribly guilty for not looking for her, but who would even have known where to start?

    Sigh. Given that I'm selling the farm and am in the process of packing up, moving and rehoming a lot of the animals, I honestly didn't know whether to rejoice or cry when I saw her. I'm thrilled that she's alive. But now here's another little life in my hands, one that I have to make good decisions for. Maybe my Great Pyrenees really will tolerate another animal in the house...at least I can dream for awhile!

    So cat experts, anything I should know about rehabbing a starved cat? Assuming she doesn't pull another disappearing act, that is.

  • #2
    Wow that is amazing. I don't know enough about cats to answer your question but I assume a trip to the vet is in order anyway so hopefully they can give you some answers. Welcome home!
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3

      Feed canned food and or dry food (kitten) higher in calories. Deworm her now and then again in 3 weeks, update her vaccines. Make sure she is felv/fiv negative. Cats that dont eat can become very very ill - fatty liver disease. If this were the case her skin will have a slight to very yellow color to it. Make sure you get some flea prevention on her as well so you arent passing her nutrition on to any pesky critters.

      glad she came home! I tend to have dissapearing barn cats myself - never had one return though.


      • #4
        Wow, that is an amazing return! I am sure she came back for an important reason, hope you can find a way to keep her. If you are moving, does that mean you found a job? (Hope so, I have been 'jingling' and praying for you.)
        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


        • #5
          awww, so glad she came back... dogs are pretty good at getting used to who's boss in the house

          We had a cat, Aswad, who ran away once.. we gave him up for dead too, as he'd been gone about as long as yours had been. we have so many coyotes in our area, it's pretty much a given that they're going to be dinner at some point. But when I was a little girl we went to the "local" (about 10 miles away, at least) nursery to get some plants for the garden, there he was, sitting and greeting customers!! He'd been there for 6 months, so 2 months on his own, and was treated like a prince. I don't think I've ever seen my mama so flabbergasted and exuberant!! So we brought him home and didn't really have to rehab him at all - been spoiled rotten since he got to the nursery. The nursery people had wormed him and had him heart worm tested, given booster shots and just fed him reasonable amounts (not letting him stuff himself) until he was healthy again.

          You know you can't give this guy up now, right? He found his way back to you! cats are funny creatures indeed! and survivors..


          • #6
            The same thing happened to me a couple years ago...I thought.
            My cat had been missing for about 6 months and she reappeared. She was very skittish, but I got her to trust me again. She was a black kitty who was spayed. She kept getting fatter and fatter until one day I went outside and she had given birth to 4 kittens. So, it must not have been my Bella. New Bella who I've had longer now than I had old Bella is a sweetie. I'm really the only one she loves. I guess she was a stray that just needed a family. As soon as those kittens were weaned I took new Bella to the vet and had her spayed!
            CRAYOLA Posse: PLUM


            • #7
              Similar Story

              We had our beloved barn cat reappear after a solid YEAR! We do not live out in the middle of nowhere - and were sure that he had died or someone had opened his/her door and in he stayed. I was in the barn feeding when he walked in - just like it was any typical day. He had some serious damage to his hind end though - he was either barely hit by a car or caught/swiped by a raccoon/fox/something. His entire right haunch was off to the side - a 12 day vet stay, drainage pipes like no other - I think the vet bill was over 3K. He became an outdoor/porch cat after that. He was not happy in the house- had too strong of an anti-dog mentality.

              He was the best cat - he showed up at our house about a year after we moved in and was with us for eight years. He worked as our primary mouser, childhood nanny, and night watchman.




              • #8
                Wait on the worming

                So happy to hear she came home, 8 months is such a long time. Don't you wish they could tell us what happened!

                I'm not a vet, but just my two cents - I would hold off on the worming for a bit until she gets a few days of food and water - you just don't want to put chemicals in an already compromised body. I would definitely call the vet and see what they suggest.

                Good luck with her.


                • #9
                  I'm glad your kitty is home. I had one of my cats do that to me some years ago. Disappeared for at least six months and I figured a coyote got her. I walked into the barn one day and she hopped out and said HI like she'd never been gone. She was in good condition too. We never could figure out what happened to her. I still have this kitty too...she's quite old now and a house cat.


                  • #10
                    Could she have gotten closed into a barn or shed somewhere for awhile? Cats can live quite a long time without food (but probably not 8 months ...maybe there were some rodents wherever she was).

                    There was a story on Animal Planet about a cat that lived in Wisconsin very close to the Great Lakes. She somehow wandered into a container, was loaded onto a ship, and got shipped all the way to FRANCE. They unloaded her over a month later and she was still alive but very skinny. She was wearing a collar, so they called her owners, who were very surprised at her location (Can you imagine that phone call?: We found your kitty! Where? Oh, in France!). They got her home and she was fine.

                    *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                    • #11
                      I am so glad she found her way home! I had one disappear for 10 weeks. We moved barns and he disappeared. I was moving there but had moved the horse and cats earlier. I was going every day to feed them, etc but had to skip one day and he was gone. I don't know if he wandered, got lost, and the instinct for the old place was stronger, or if he went looking for me. Somehow found his way more than 12 miles back to the old one. He was none the worse for wear and was fatter than when he left! He doesn't wander anymore .

                      Is it possible she got into a truck or trailer, got driven away, and had to find her way home? We had one get into the back of a hay truck at night. When we got to the hay place we heard meowing - she was in the back. Had she been able to get out on her own or had we not noticed she would have been lost.


                      • #12
                        Oh, your story gives me hope. One of our barn cats has been missing for about 5 days. I am not a cat person but this funny little cat has wormed her way into my heart. She has no name and is tiny with little ears and a shortish tail and brindle colouring. She is/was so affectionate and I would actually go seek her out to say hi. She would sit on my shoulder and chat away to me. We are on a busy road and have lots of coyote around so I had given up hope but maybe, just maybe she will return. I am glad that yours was that lucky.
                        "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
                          Wow, that is an amazing return! I am sure she came back for an important reason, hope you can find a way to keep her. If you are moving, does that mean you found a job? (Hope so, I have been 'jingling' and praying for you.)
                          Hi Jeanie, yes, I've found a job! It's not the world's greatest faculty position, since I won't be on tenure track at first, but it's a job with a potential future. And it's in Lexington, so I get to live exactly where I'd hoped to. I was afraid I was going to have to go to the colds of Iowa (nothing wrong with Iowa in and of itself; I just really hate cold), so this dropping in my lap at the last second was a major answer to prayer. Thanks so much for adding yours to mine!

                          I'll happily keep Freckles if Sophie the Pyr will let me. Freckles hasn't had the easiest life--her mother slit her jugular vein right after she was weaned and Freckles spent 15 days at the vet before they were sure she was going to survive. She's only the size of a large kitten even now because all the antibiotics and other meds stunted her growth. Then she had complications from being spayed. Boy is this little girl a fighter!

                          And yes, I desperately wish she could tell me where's she's been. Or from the looks of her, maybe not.

                          Off to buy some kitten food. A trip to the vet is going to have to wait a few days until she lets me pick her up again. Right now, I think she needs food and rest more than anything.


                          • #14
                            I looked and waited in vain for our lost barn cat to show back up. Best cat I've ever known in my life - and how did he show up? Heard a cat in our basement crawl space, and went outside to peer into the vents of the basement and saw his cute little white face. Our nearest neighbors are 2-3 miles away, we are very remote, and have no idea how he ended up in our unfinished house like that - things don't just wander up here. Unfortunately we didn't have your happy ending with him ever returning - I am choosing to believe that he hitched a ride up here and then hitched a ride back out, but I am really lucky to have had him hanging around for as long as he did. Never had a cat that rode on the back of atvs and tractors like this one, he was unique. I am so glad your cat is back home.

                            True story - before we moved here, while at our old house in the valley, our farrier came for a scheduled trimming, from a city that is over 2 hours away. He opens his work trailer, and about 1 minute later, out flies a cat! He had just been at a shoeing appointment in that other city, for another customer in our barn and one of her wilder, feral cats had jumped in and hitched a ride.

                            We saw that cat here around the barn and fields for months - never could feed it with tempting enough foods or coax it into close range, no matter what we tried.


                            • #15
                              Wow, great news on the job ("And it's in Lexington, so I get to live exactly where I'd hoped to"). Awesome! When you have some spare $$ again, you could get an animal communicator to get the kitty's story, and to give the Pyr instructions to be nice to kitty, but hopefully that will sort itself out on its own. I would imagine that at first the kitty will need some private space away from the dog, to recuperate. Once strong enough to climb up on stuff that the dog cannot reach, that should work OK? (hope so anyway)
                              Last edited by sdlbredfan; Jun. 13, 2009, 05:55 PM. Reason: fix typo
                              RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                              • #16
                                One of my trainer's barn cats disappeared not long after arriving. He had been semi-feral and just never settled there. About a year later, he showed up again, and decided he was going to stay.
                                The funny thing is, now that he's back, he rarely leaves the barn. If there are lots of people around, he hides out in the loft, but he's learned that getting treats and petting are pretty good.
                                Amateur rider, professional braider.
                                Save a life, adopt a pet.


                                • #17
                                  Wow, any cat that survived such an ordeal and came home to you deserves a lifelong home filled with love and creature comforts. What a story he would have for you if only she could talk!


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by chai View Post
                                    Wow, any cat that survived such an ordeal and came home to you deserves a lifelong home filled with love and creature comforts. What a story he would have for you if only she could talk!
                                    I know...I just hope the Pyr agrees. She generally despises any other animal that has the potential for stealing attention from her, especially in the house. Jeanie, Sophie's pretty stubborn--I'm not sure she'd listen to an animal communicator, at least not one that dared to have instructions for her.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by abbydp View Post
                                      IIs it possible she got into a truck or trailer, got driven away, and had to find her way home? We had one get into the back of a hay truck at night. When we got to the hay place we heard meowing - she was in the back. Had she been able to get out on her own or had we not noticed she would have been lost.
                                      We have had cats do this, but luckily were found and we brought them home. Cats will often get in a feed delivery truck, or horse trailer, and go for a ride. If they are not seen at the next stop, or jump out, some will go quite a distance to find their way home.

                                      My cat that would disappear for a month or 2 and show back up did this for a few years, then went missing for about 8 to 9 months one time. He (fixed he) wandered in one day well cared for. Stayed a month or so, and left again. I think he found another home, and they thought "their" cat kept going missing, but we rescued him at about 4 weeks, so he really was ours.


                                      • #20
                                        I wish my kitty, Mr. Bean would come back and find me
                                        see my ribbon quilts at: www.ribbonquilts.com