Cat stuck on 7th story molding
May 26, 2013 1:01 PM   Subscribe

My 9 month old cat cut through my screen window and crawled out onto the molding of my 7th story apartment. I don't know what to do.

I don't know if you can see her, but she's at the very end:

I am taking the photo from the fire escape, which is about a few feet from my own apartment's window.

I've called animal control, and they told me to wait 24 hours. They don't want to risk trying to rescue her and terrifying her into jumping.

I don't know what to do. She won't turn around when I call her. I've had the apartment owner to the window she's the closest to open his window, I've opened the fire escape, and fully opened my own window. I've left food by my neighbor's window and the fire escape.

Oh god, I am the worst.
posted by destronomics to Pets & Animals (167 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
Oh my goodness, kitty!

It sounds like you're doing all you can -- getting the neighbor's help between where you are and where she is to open windows and offer food sounds key.

Is it possible for her to go around the corner of the building?

It's probably the safest and most likely successful plan to wait. She'll figure it out and come back, but I'm sure the waiting is crazy-making.

Hang in there, baby!
posted by pantarei70 at 1:06 PM on May 26, 2013

I think sometimes people call the fire department about cats stuck on things, at least they do in books.
posted by steinwald at 1:06 PM on May 26, 2013

Response by poster: She tried to turn on the ledge and just sort of scooted a bit further and gave up. She's meowing, sometimes makes eye contact, but looks absolutely terrified.
posted by destronomics at 1:14 PM on May 26, 2013

9 months is old enough to figure out turning around or backing up. I had a young cat get stuck high up in a dead tree with no branches, just a 2 story trunk. I didn't watch, but she figured out how to get down. Open a can of tuna, maybe put some of the juice on the ledge.
posted by theora55 at 1:17 PM on May 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

Do cherry picker (bucket) trucks go up that high? It probably wouldn't hurt to call the non-emergency number for your fire department. Or have someone walk to the nearest firehouse and ask if they can help (I say someone else so you can stay with the kitty).
posted by youngergirl44 at 1:19 PM on May 26, 2013

Tuna and time. She'll wander back in if you wait her out and give her a reason to come back in.

Cats are not anywhere near as afraid of heights as you are and seldom fall. Not to say they DON'T fall, but they aren't in our league when it comes to gymnastics.

Once you snag her worthless butt, secure that window. They have nothing better to do all day than plot complications for you and they will.

Good luck. Please post good news when she comes in.
posted by FauxScot at 1:22 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: But she's meowing and it looks like she has difficulty in turning around? Like, she tried, but she just scoots closer to the other edge. The molding ends at a certain part and I'm worried she has no room to maneuver.
posted by destronomics at 1:28 PM on May 26, 2013

Canned Mackerel, just inside an open window, hopefully upwind from her. And then leave her be so as to not scare or startle her....
posted by HuronBob at 1:29 PM on May 26, 2013

Don't feel guilty. Cats get into ridiculous scrapes all the time! Not your fault. A suggestion: if you have a local Animal Rescue League (as opposed to animal control), give them a call. It's exactly what they do (at least around here, Boston area). They always post pictures on Facebook of them scaling trees and lowering themselves into pits and things.
posted by clone boulevard at 1:29 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

What's around the corner of the building? Could she make it to an open window that way?
posted by _cave at 1:30 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh dear dog, my heart is in my throat. Cat, we've got to get you home safe.

Cats can walk backwards if they need to until there's enough room to turn around.

I hope in the time I'm typing this that she has decided to come in one of the windows you've opened for her -- that is a smart plan. Does she usually respond to the sound of a can opener or the shake of dry food at all? If she doesn't care much for tuna, try warm roast chicken from the store if a friend can bring it.

You don't want any sort of intervention to scare her -- please use all the patience you have and let her figure things out.

Once she's in, hell yes secure that window. Some of my windows have triple screens just because, you know, cats.
posted by vers at 1:30 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can you call your local animal control and procure a Catch Pole noose from them? Ideally with someone proficient in using it. Get access to the windows nearest puss and snare her. Your voice meantime will help her know where she wants to be going so keep calling her.
posted by Callicvol at 1:31 PM on May 26, 2013

She'll probably turn around and come back in, but it is possible (though unlikely, as the ledge isn't that narrow) for her to fall. You've left food at the closest places, and she will come back. She will not wait there to starve.

Cats often act as if they want to be saved because they're lazy little assholes, but they eventually back out of the holes in the wall, or down from the tree, or off the ledge, or whatever it is, all by themselves. Honestly. Even when it looks like they're trapped, they're not as trapped as you think.

Keep calling for her, leave the food out, keep in touch with your neighbours. You're doing the right things.
posted by jeather at 1:32 PM on May 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: Are you sure they can back up? She's scootching forward, but at one point the molding ends, there's nothing there. This is the 7th floor, and she's never been outside before. I don't know if she gets it.
posted by destronomics at 1:32 PM on May 26, 2013

Yes. Cats can back up. They don't like to do it, but they can.
posted by jeather at 1:33 PM on May 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry for the panic, I am just so terrified for this dumb cat.
posted by destronomics at 1:36 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I agree that kitties are more creative and agile than they like to pretend to be. Especially if they're used to being retrieved (which the younger ones tend to be, for all the usual reasons.) Or if they're in a new place (they're drama kings and queens.)

Food and access to a safe place are the best strategies. I mean, call the animal rescue types, but she already has what she needs most.
posted by SMPA at 1:37 PM on May 26, 2013

Cats are reluctant to walk backwards, but they can and will. If she's never been outside before, she's almost certainly overwhelmed. Give her time, but I'm very worried that she won't have enough time to figure things out before it gets dark. Can you keep asking neighbors to open their windows along her route?
posted by vers at 1:37 PM on May 26, 2013

I agree. The more you try to coax her, the more nervous she will get. Nervous cats make bad decisions.

Let her figure it out. She will be able to do it. Put some food on your windowsill and if it gets dark, put a light out there so she can see where she needs to go to get back.
posted by gjc at 1:37 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh man, a strong net or something? She might not realise she can back up!

I would call the fire department for sure.
posted by windykites at 1:38 PM on May 26, 2013

not the height, of course, but here's the technique. cats are dancers.
posted by FauxScot at 1:40 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oh no! Hang in there OP & kitty!

From my own experience: cats can look terrified and helpless and then a little bit later they totally manage to rescue themselves. My cat climbed a huge basswood tree - it was the first time she climbed a tree at all and was terrified to come back down. I tried everything: talking to her, offering success.
Eventually we had to leave. We got into the car and drove off - that was the cue for her to come down. (Of course we came back 5 min later to check). She was not injured and lived a happy life until the age of 18,5yrs.

My other cat fell out the window from the 3rd floor and had no injuries.

Cats have an amazing spine - they can really back up, turn around, stand up straight...
just try to not look at her all the time, I think that might be contributing to the meowing/terrified look on her face.

Also: as soon as it gets dark (hopefully it won't take that long!) there might be less traffic/noise and she might feel safer.

But call the shelter and the fire dep. and ask if they can be of any assistance.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:40 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cats can walk backwards, but as a last resort. It sounds like you're doing the right things. I think the idea of leaving her alone is a good one - if I were you I'd go freak out in my bedroom for a while. You don't want her to think you'll come out and get her.
posted by christinetheslp at 1:41 PM on May 26, 2013

Response by poster: It's only 1:42 here, so there's a couple of hours yet. The neighbor closest to her has opened his window, and I've opened the window on the fire escape and my window. My one fear is she'll make it to the fire escape and escape into the building proper. But she's chipped and I have her papers, so maybe it won't be the end of the world. I'd rather have her run away then be stuck up there or fall.

My big hope is that she'll make it to the neighbor's apartment building before nightfall.
posted by destronomics at 1:44 PM on May 26, 2013

Response by poster: homg she's turned around!!
posted by destronomics at 1:45 PM on May 26, 2013 [43 favorites]

C'mon, kitten! Chirp, OP -- you know the happy chirp cats do, yes? Chirp!
posted by vers at 1:46 PM on May 26, 2013

Response by poster: Okay, I went back on the fire escape and she's just giving me the eye, so I'll leave her alone. oh god at least she's turned around. There's three windows back inside that she can go for. I am tempted to close the fire escape so I don't run the risk of her getting lost inside the building, though. My window and the neighbor's window (closest to her) would remain open. Is that okay?
posted by destronomics at 1:46 PM on May 26, 2013

Go to the window above her and repel down and snag her.

Yes, the two windows are enough.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:47 PM on May 26, 2013

Maybe try to stay away from the window and fire escape so she can go in without you scaring her off.

You can shut the fire escape for now, she will likely return through a window.
posted by jeather at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: oh god I can see her panicked breathing from here.
posted by destronomics at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2013

I'd leave all options open and run the risk of lost inside. Inside is the most important thing.
posted by vers at 1:48 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Let her relax a bit - most important that she turned around. In a few minutes she'll start walking.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:50 PM on May 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

You're probably freaking her out a little too by being so freaked out--step away from the window and take some deep breaths, give her a chance to work up the courage to get to a window!
posted by leesh at 1:50 PM on May 26, 2013 [11 favorites]

I know the ledge doesn't look like much, but for a cat, that's acres of room. Once you calm down, she'll calm down, and will come sauntering in like nothing happened. I know you're terrified, I would be too, but it will be okay.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:53 PM on May 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

As leesh says, try to stay calm. I know it's not easy. Maybe play some familiar music or make familiar noises so she knows what direction you're in. My heart would be in my throat by now.
posted by SillyShepherd at 1:54 PM on May 26, 2013

Also, she's Siamese? They're crafty little bastards. She'll find her way in, I think.
posted by SillyShepherd at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

!!!! Yay, glad she turned around. From the picture, that looks like plenty of room for her to maneuver. (I'm always in awe watching my cat move back and forth on narrow windowsills... They can turn around in really small spaces!) Seems like just a matter of waiting for her to walk inside now.
posted by perryfugue at 1:57 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: She is Siamese, yes! With lynx patterning. And a brain full of marbles and I love her but she's dumb as bricks.
posted by destronomics at 1:58 PM on May 26, 2013 [12 favorites]

Response by poster: ps, I really appreciate you guys' patience with this. I realize I am a little OTT with the worry!
posted by destronomics at 1:59 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think all of us with cats would be just as worried, you are totally fine.
posted by leesh at 1:59 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

poor kitty. i hope she scoots inside really soon. not a great first outing into the world.
posted by wildflower at 2:00 PM on May 26, 2013

Based on that picture, I think she's very unlikely to fall. But I would definitely want to formulate a plan for what exactly to do if she does fall. Do you have a cat carrier and a towel or blanket close at hand? Do you know where the closest animal hospital is, and do you have transport there? Maybe making a plan will help you relax just a tiny bit.

Again, I really think she'll be able to find her way back in -- that is a super-wide ledge for a cat, and turning around must have been the hardest part.

Good luck!
posted by inkfish at 2:00 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

She turned around, that is fantastic! Now she is working up her courage to make the rest of the journey. Come on, kitty, we know you can do it!
posted by hazyjane at 2:05 PM on May 26, 2013

She'll probably get in before nightfall but still I wouldn't panic that dusk is the end of her ability to see where she's going. If it comes to that yes, put a light out there, but remember that cats can see in the dark much better than we can.
posted by third rail at 2:11 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Give the cat some time - she'll figure things out. The ledge looks wide enough to turn around, so no big deal.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:15 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: She's turned around, but now she does this little butt shift but doesn't move.

C'mon, kid, you are so clooooooooose

to a window that's not mine, but that's okay, because it's inside.
posted by destronomics at 2:23 PM on May 26, 2013

This is like watching a pot boil, except that the pot is suffering from performance anxiety and an acute awareness of your emotional state. Really, try to put on some quiet music and step away from the window for a bit (like an hour.)

Particularly since you've got two enclosed apartments as her only options.
posted by SMPA at 2:29 PM on May 26, 2013 [12 favorites]

Oh boy - she's going to scare you to pieces before she comes in. Had a young dumb cat that used to climb on the neighbors top gutter and then freak out - they do figure it out and come down and hopefully she will without taking years off your life watching!
posted by leslies at 2:31 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

since she's facing you now maybe open a can of tuna and wave it around and put it outside your window so she can see it.
posted by wildflower at 2:32 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

She's facing you. As hard as this is, you need to leave her alone for a while. Set a timer. Give it an hour. Half an hour at least. Stay away from windows. She is not going to stay outside forever. She will come in when she feels like it, and although watched pots boil just fine, watched cats get stubborner by the second. Leave the food INSIDE the window. The cat will come in.
posted by jeather at 2:35 PM on May 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

Looking at those pics, that ledge is about as wide for her as a city sidewalk is for a person. It looks narrow to you, but it isn't to her. She probably likes it out there, but she'll get thirsty or hungry. Give her some space.
posted by jon1270 at 2:37 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

She will be okay - cats can balance really, really well.

I agree that the best thing would be to leave stinky treats just inside by the window, and do your best to step away and distract yourself.
posted by insectosaurus at 2:58 PM on May 26, 2013

Cats can survive long falls. This Straight Dope column (dont read it until kitty is safe) presents statistics and the resulting "flying squirrel" hypothesis from a 1987 study from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. "Two vets examined 132 cases of cats that had fallen out of high-rise windows and were brought to the Animal Medical Center, a New York veterinary hospital, for treatment. On average the cats fell 5.5 stories, yet 90 percent survived." They have a "non-fatal terminal velocity," meaning that they do pick up speed as they fall, but the top speed they reach is generally a speed they can survive crashing at. Higher distances aren't necessarily worse, because it gives them time to relax, spread their limbs, and become even more like a glider.
posted by salvia at 3:00 PM on May 26, 2013 [9 favorites]

Definitely bait an open window with tuna water, and leave a bowl of tuna inside, near the window. Then, just wait inside. She'll eventually wander back in.

And replace that screen with metal wire screen (not the fiberglass or nylon that it apparently is.)
posted by Thorzdad at 3:00 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

wildflower's tuna suggestion is good but it doesn't go far enough. cats have more trouble reading labels than they do smelling things, so put the tuna in a microwave (sans can) or a small skillet, heat to about 120 degrees before putting it in her bowl inside your space, and let those magnetic tuna-ey vapors go to work. good luck!
posted by bruce at 3:01 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't have any tuna, but I do have canned cat food? Can I heat that up?
posted by destronomics at 3:03 PM on May 26, 2013

FYI - even if she did fall, it's very unlikely it would kill her! Cats have a much lower terminal velocity than people. Seven stories up is scary, scary far for you, but for a cat even from a much higher distance they often land with only minor (or in some cases no) injuries.

On preview, what salvia said.
posted by Lady Li at 3:03 PM on May 26, 2013

Also, from what I've read, cats consider a direct stare aggression, so you may be effectively scaring her into staying out there! I don't know, I remember cats coming to greet me despite me looking at them. But the "leave her alone" approach is worth a try.
posted by salvia at 3:06 PM on May 26, 2013

canned cat food? Can I heat that up?

Probably? But take it out of the metal can before putting it in the microwave! :)
posted by salvia at 3:09 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: She hasn't moved this whole hour :( I guess it took her two hours to turn, so I should give it another hour. GOD. CATS.
posted by destronomics at 3:13 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

endorsing salvia's reply. you can definitely warm up the cat food, and you must absolutely take it out of the can before microwaving.
posted by bruce at 3:13 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: don't worry, I know not to microwave metal -- I just don't know how to take care of a cat, apparently.
posted by destronomics at 3:15 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Does your neighbor have any tuna?
posted by mightshould at 3:20 PM on May 26, 2013

Not your fault. (((Hugs)))
posted by michellenoel at 3:20 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

If there are certain things that have a telltale audible giveaway that kitty can't resist, the shaking of a treat can for example, you might try that standing near the window (but inside).

A particular cat I know is constitutionally incapable of ignoring the rattle of paper shopping bags and will come running to pounce from any location in the house. (I'm lookin' at you, Jack.)
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:20 PM on May 26, 2013

Remind yourself that she made her escape and waltzed her way down there just fine until you discovered what was happening; therefore it's just as likely that she'll waltz her way back with no problem .... your job is to chill and wait.
posted by mightshould at 3:27 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

A particular cat I know is constitutionally incapable of ignoring the rattle of paper shopping bags and will come running to pounce from any location in the house.

For my cat, it's the sound of removing the wrapper from a slice of american cheese. It's guaranteed to bring him running.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:28 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

YOu can heat cat food. I know super cat people who warm up their cat food every day and now the cats will only eat it warm.
posted by third rail at 3:34 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I trained a cat I had once to always come running when I shook a treat-bag, because whenever they got outside they'd roll under the neighbour's fence. And the neighbour had a husky. Cats are incredibly stupid.

I'm positive everything will be fine. Cats are dumb, but also numerous, so they clearly manage to get out of their messes just fine. If you start shaking a treat bag around the house and rewarding your cat when it comes running, you'll have a nice back up plan for when it goes off on hijinks.
posted by Dynex at 3:40 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: it just looks like she's too terrified to move. Her tail is wrapped around her body, and she does little abortive but wiggles before settling back down and meowing piteously.

in other news, warmed up cat food over the stove smells pretty darn good. I've only just begun my cat lady journey -- it can't end now!
posted by destronomics at 3:47 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

She really will decide to move. It's boring out there now that the grand adventure is old. She just has to decide to do it on her own.
posted by mightshould at 3:52 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Warm food is more palatable to cats (most prey has slightly higher body temperature than humans/cats) - apparently it does taste more/better and smells stronger. In my experience cats also drink more water when it is warm.
Maybe wiggle a toy of hers out the window to get her attention? But she better be focused once she starts walking, just to be safe.
posted by travelwithcats at 3:59 PM on May 26, 2013

I know you're panicked but hang in there. In the 40-odd years I've had cats they've done all manner of crazy-making things but seem to be sumpremely adept at getting themselves out of the weird shit they get themselves into. Sit tight and kitty will figure it out. Thanks for keeping us posted.
posted by _Mona_ at 4:02 PM on May 26, 2013

A lost dog chased my cat close to 40' up in a tree, my elderly 15 year old cat who had never even been on top of a car as far as I know. It took him 4 hours, but he figured out how to get down, but until we went inside and chilled out he wouldn't even MOVE. The chances are overwhelming that if you just go inside and wait, she'll come in.

you are such a good cat lady!
posted by KathrynT at 4:36 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I've been refreshing this thread kind of obsessively, and as soon as she turned around I was able to relax (having been through something similar, involving a tall tree -- and a happy ending -- 20 years ago). My heart goes out to you; it's so hard. But I look forward to hearing good news. She will figure it out.
posted by sophieblue at 4:51 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Here is something to read while you relax inside. :)
posted by salvia at 4:53 PM on May 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: I am counting down to when the neighbor returns, now that she's turned around, since she hasn't moved since then.

Though, granted, she seems pretty chill in the sun right now, watching the birds. Don't get comfy, cat. I aim to spoil you when you return.
posted by destronomics at 4:55 PM on May 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

Pls update when safe kitty.
posted by windykites at 6:19 PM on May 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

Just wondering if it's heading up to the cats tea/dinner time if you very loudly make all the normal noises you make when you feed her. Opening drawers, rattling the box or using a can opener or what ever you do, calling her name as if nothing has happened and she's just in the other room. If she's the sort to always come running the second she hears you calling her for dinner it might work, even if you have to do it just inside the window so she can hear it. Of course you want to do this in a relaxed, I'm just feeding you your dinner and I'm not freaking out because you are on a ledge kind of way. It's probably a long shot, but I feel your nervousness, even if your head is saying that is a nice wide ledge for a cat to walk on your heart just sees your baby a long way away. ((((hugs))))
posted by wwax at 6:26 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: She's in the same place she's been for the past four hours. It looks like she's settled in to sleep, almost.

Man, I don't know. She was half-feral when I adopted her, and it took a good few weeks to get her acclimated to me. She can't handle other people though, and I'm a little terrified my neighbor returning will scare her even more.

She's literally three feet away from his open window, he's not home, and she hasn't moved. I put a little bit of chicken liver baby food (she looooves it) on a spoon before he left for work (I understand that he doesn't want a total stranger tooling around his place while he's gone. We haven't spoken at all until today) but she hasn't made any movement towards it other than turning around.

It's 7PM here (I'm in LA) so it's an hour or so until nightfall. Fffffff. Will she be okay out there at night??
posted by destronomics at 7:02 PM on May 26, 2013

My cat once scared the hell out of me by climbing way too high up a tree. He would NOT come down all evening and into the night. Eventually we went to bed and at six in the morning he appeared at the front door covered in pine sap.
posted by redfoxtail at 7:07 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

If she was half-feral when you adopted her, then it's probably not the first time she's napped outside in the moonlight. Sooner or later the ledge will no longer meet her needs and she'll come back inside.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:10 PM on May 26, 2013

Have you actually stayed away from the windows for a significant period of time so that the cat can come in without you scaring her away? It's not clear if you've done that or just sat watching her, and I swear it will help with your skittish cat (who will come in eventually). She'll be fine at night -- you can just continue to leave a window open for her to come in.
posted by jeather at 7:11 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I have tried to stay away -- I've been away from the window for 2 hours or so -- I'm rather far away, I feel, but I understand. I hope when I go to sleep it'll be a long enough time for her to unclench and come in.
posted by destronomics at 7:16 PM on May 26, 2013

Response by poster: Homg she's sitting up, hasn't moved, but not crouched down! She hasn't seen me, do I go out there and try and lure her again??
posted by destronomics at 7:24 PM on May 26, 2013

Buddy, everybody's telling you to let her come in on her own. Just give her a way to come back inside when she's ready and try to focus on something else for a little while.

Let her have her little adventure in peace and don't risk spooking her.
posted by cranberry_nut at 7:30 PM on May 26, 2013 [8 favorites]

If it makes you feel any better, I read your post aloud to my fiance because I was so freaked out for you and your cat. I have NO experience with cats, my guy has had many, many pet cats in the past. He was pretty unconcerned and was just like, "She'll come in when she's ready," and told me several death-defying stories of shenanigans his past cats have pulled.

Thinking good thoughts for you guys!
posted by Aquifer at 7:32 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Okay, going to try and take everyone's advice. It's hard, because it's just open season to every nightmare scenario in my head, from her falling, to getting lost in the building, to her making her way into the neighbor's apartment and fear pooping everywhere, etc.

but y'all have way more experience than me, so going to put on some deep space nine and open a bottle of wine and try and chill the fuck out

Last picture for the day
posted by destronomics at 7:36 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

She hasn't seen me, do I go out there and try and lure her again??

Jesus Christ, go out and watch a movie or something. I'm not even a cat, and I'm just sitting at a table and you're making me nervous, cause you're all up in my business.

I understand you're worried but try to be rational about this:

1) that ledge is very wide for a cat, there is almost no risk of a fall unless the cat is drunk and hopped up on goofballs.

2) You were worried she couldn't/wouldn't turn around, but she totally did and it worked out great.

3) If she wants to come in, she merely has to walk forward. Even the dumbest cat in the world can walk forward.

4) She has two options: windows, or the incredibly-far-away ground. The cat will come through a window.

Just leave her be dude. She'll be fine. You'll be fine. You don't need to hang out a lure, or screaming yourself hoarse. Cat's having some fun watching the traffic. She's Siamese; of course she's miaowing. Siamese are like the Spalding Gray of cats; their monologues are incessant.

Honestly, I think, for your sake, for the cat's sake, if you are unable to stay away from the window, by staying in your bedroom reading or whatevs, you should get out of the house for a couple of hours. Cat is in no danger, and your presence will not speed her return. Good luck,
posted by smoke at 7:40 PM on May 26, 2013 [33 favorites]

We're pulling for you and your kitty! I'm confident that if you leave the window open, she'll saunter in overnight like it's no big deal. Have you heard the song "The Cat Came Back"? It's a funny song about someone who's trying to lose his cat, but no matter what he does, well, I won't spoil it. Give it a listen. Let us know when this is resolved!
posted by bonheur at 7:45 PM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Agreed with smoke -- leave an open can of food by the window and walk away. That ledge is plenty wide.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:52 PM on May 26, 2013

What's the cat's name, out of curiosity?

Nightmare scenarios:

1 - She will fall. Unlikely, because she's already turned herself around, which was the only real risk. The windows are wide, so she's got more than enough room. There's zero chance your cat is going to jump, especially if you leave her alone.

2 - She gets in the building. She's probably wander around for a while and then either someone else will grab her and put posters up or you will go out and call for her and she'll come to you. But it's pretty unlikely, because you've shut the door to the fire escape.

3 - Friendly neighbour apartment pooping! By far the likeliest, if she decides to go into your neighbour's apartment when he isn't there. You will be on the hook for a load of laundry and a nice bottle of wine, and either this will be some sort of meet-cute or you won't ever be friends. No permanent issues.

You're clearly really stressed, and I totally understand -- it's easy not to be stressed from across the continent when it isn't my cat -- but cats do pick up on stress, and also they like sitting outside.

Have a bubble bath, or a glass of wine, or something to relax yourself. The cat will be fine. The cat will come in the window in her own sweet time. You are a perfectly fine cat owner. Cats are assholes.
posted by jeather at 7:53 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Aw yeah, she looks totally chill now. She is a jerk, and she will eventually just sashay in like nothing ever happened.

If you need company and reassurance, come to chat. We're all waiting anxiously for the outcome as well!
posted by bethnull at 7:58 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

If she goes into the guy's apartment, she'll probably nose around for a bit, then be all Siamesey and start yelling. Is she a loud kitty?
posted by SillyShepherd at 8:12 PM on May 26, 2013

Response by poster: yeah, sorry guys. anxiety is getting the best of me. and really sorry for spamming the thread. obviously I am not capable of it right now. but hey! fire department still not called! baby steps??

smoke, jeather, taking your advice, I swear, haven't poked my head out since.

"cats are assholes" needs to be a t-shirt.

edit: HOMG SHE IS GONE. she is probably in that dude's apartment. /gets out treats
posted by destronomics at 8:17 PM on May 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

Make noises in the hall and see if she calls out to you.
posted by SillyShepherd at 8:29 PM on May 26, 2013

Kitty is safe?
posted by workerant at 8:55 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I was wrong. Apparently the neighbor closed his window when he left. He thought it was "taken care of" --which makes no sense, because the cat was mewling outside of his window the whole goddamn time.

I have no idea where she is, I just walked the entire building front to back. Christ. She doesn't approach people, much less me. She'll sleep all over me at night, but she's still really shy and will hiss at a drop of a hat.

EDIT: Oh thank god. She's nested in the window sill of the window that does not open, but she's still uber far away. she's safe and comfy thought. I am leaving my window open and asking him to open his when he gets home. I am trying not to be angry at the guy, 'cause it's not his cat, and not his problem, but oh my god, the false hope that she was at least INSIDE followed by the text telling me he closed his window before he left.

I am going to bed, I can't handle this.
posted by destronomics at 9:33 PM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Neighbor dude just swung by my apartment and is like "I will call the fire department if you're going to be this passive tomorrow." and I'm like, "dude, I called them already, they told me to do this, I'm not happy about this either." "So you're just going to be passive about this?" "I'm not being passive, this is what animal control said to do." "But this won't be taken care of tomorrow and I don't want to have to deal with someone else's pet, especially when you're being so passive about this."

I am really glad I never spoke to him until now, Wow.
posted by destronomics at 10:39 PM on May 26, 2013 [13 favorites]

That sounds super stressful and shitty! You're doing the right thing, ignore the asshole neighbor.
posted by longtime_lurker at 10:46 PM on May 26, 2013

It is probably better if he does keep his window closed. Your cat is more likely to want to get in her own window, and *might* damage or mess up his place, or scratch him if he tries to capture her.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 11:31 PM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

What does he expect you to do, go out there after her?? Haters to the left, etc. You stay calm and wait for kitteh to come home.
posted by orrnyereg at 11:33 PM on May 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

At least in that window sill nook it will be really hard for her to fall if she falls asleep, which was a risk when she was just perched on the ledge I think.

Do people think she definitely remembers where home is? I know people are saying not to stress the kitty out but I wonder whether a welcoming call and familiar voice and face after the long absence would really be bad?
posted by onlyconnect at 11:36 PM on May 26, 2013

In case you are worried about how your cat is feeling, just an anecdatapoint for you:

While reading this thread on and off all day I have watched my (indoor/outdoor) kitty spend 4+ hours hunched on top of my garden fence. It is so incredibly narrow on top that I have no idea how she even balances (maybe a tenth as wide as that ledge yours is on), but she has sat there without wobbling for hours, including appearing to be asleep at times. It is cold (winter) and unpleasant out there to my eyes, but she is choosing to stay there instead of warm and cosy indoors with me. I have no idea what she is getting out of it, and if I didn't know better I would think she was scared and unhappy, but she can get down any time she likes. I think she just enjoys the fresh air, and watching the world around her, and being up higher than the rest of us.

No matter what it looks like to you, I think the chances are very high that your kitty knows exactly how to come back inside and just doesn't want to because this is a new and interesting experience for her.

Just ignore the neighbour and try not to freak out. I bet she'll be back inside by morning.
posted by lollusc at 11:53 PM on May 26, 2013 [8 favorites]

The cat really will be fine.

Back at my last place I would let my cat out to sleep on my balcony. Until I realized my cat was jumping across the gaps to the balcony next to mine and going inside my neighbor's open balcony sliding door to fuck their shit up while they weren't home, exiting, and jumping back. Yes, he would leap across and risk plunging to the ground. So your cat is ahead of the game because there is no flying involved.

Just chill and she'll come in and be all like "sup" and pretend nothing happened.
posted by Justinian at 11:56 PM on May 26, 2013 [13 favorites]

Do people think she definitely remembers where home is?

Even if she doesn't, she's got a 50/50 chance of picking the right direction.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:17 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Aw. I caught this thread last evening my time, just woke up and checked in figuring kitty would have sauntered back inside – sounds like she's really enjoying her adventure! Cats looove high vantage points, all sorts of interesting things to watch. Heck, she's probably thought: "hm, hungry OOH CAR" or "kinda thirs-OOH, PIGEON POO" any number of times. My fluffy fluffball will wake from deep slumber and gallivant around for nothing more than moths. *shrug* Cats.

She'll get hungry or thirsty for sure overnight. Warm up the food again and put it inside near the window if you get up in the middle of the night and feel like you need something to do. But I too am sure she'll be fine.
posted by fraula at 12:30 AM on May 27, 2013

Also, just thought - if you move her litterbox and/or something clearly her-scented near the open window, it will also help her when she decides she'd like to go back inside.
posted by fraula at 1:40 AM on May 27, 2013

Best waiting-for-a-cat soundtrack: Elijah, by Animal Logic.
posted by dhartung at 2:03 AM on May 27, 2013

Ignore the neighbor, since he's being a bag of dicks about this. If he asks why you're being so passive about this (does he expect you to crawl along the ledge or something?), tell him that fire department ladders don't reach up beyond the fifth floor.
posted by SillyShepherd at 2:14 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Good morning. Just now seeing this thread. Hope we have a good update when you get up. I'm wishing you peace and a safe kitty.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:23 AM on May 27, 2013

Hang in there, OP! Your cat has no choice but to come back inside, sooner or later. I'm sure it will be fine.

Just... try to ensure that your neighbor doesn't start poking your cat with a long stick from his window or something stupid like that. I agree with jeather that it's very unlikely that your kitty will fall down on its own, but there's just no telling what cats will do when spooked.
posted by Caconym at 4:36 AM on May 27, 2013

I think you could start calling her and offering food as soon as you are up. She had plenty of time to relax, it's very likely she is hungry and will follow the smell and sound.

Sometimes cats space out and forget to do things but as soon as you remind them they'll happily get on with stuff.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:45 AM on May 27, 2013

Ugh, still going on?!

If your cat is three feet from the neighbor's window, and he'd like you to be less "passive," can you ask him if you can go in to his apartment and place the food just inside from that vantage point? Maybe the proximity to you and the can of food and the open window will give your li'l pal the confidence to come on in? Tell Mr. Meanie you'll buy him a case of wine or something if he gives you an hour or so, trying to lure kitty in from just three feet away.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:50 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

As sensible as the advice to go to the neighbor for help could be, I'm getting a distinct whiff of misogyny from his treatment of you, assuming your "cat lady" remark does mean you're a lady (repeatedly saying "passive" is kind of a red flag for potential misogyny, I've learned), and he did say, explicitly, he didn't want to have to deal with someone else's pet. Just ignore him; you don't want an unknown quantity who's already dismissed you before, and who might well "take action" that scares off your cat even more. Patience, calm, and smelly reminders of where home is are much safer bets.
posted by fraula at 5:04 AM on May 27, 2013

Yeah, I'd leave the neighbor out of it. Too much of a chance he'll make things worse. And really, she's not necessarily that likely to go into an unfamiliar apartment or to an unfamiliar person.

Kitty WILL come back in -- I know your heart must be in your throat, mine is from thousands of miles away! But in many ways, despite the awful sense of panic and urgency the seven-floors-up is adding, this is no different from an indoor cat who gets out and plants itself firmly in a "safe" hiding place -- that's what my neurotic, terrified-of-the-outdoors house cat would do the couple of times she got out (sequestering herself under the shed next door, not even lured out for tuna). She also wouldn't come near my partner or me (so hanging around trying to lure her was definitely counterproductive, as it may well be in your case); it was like she panicked and lost her mind. And eventually, she got hungry enough to come home. It always took until the next day, though. Just keep the window open and she'll come sauntering back in.

Sending good thoughts to you both and anxiously awaiting an update!
posted by tiger tiger at 5:13 AM on May 27, 2013

Response by poster: HEY GUYS SHE'S BACK


so something I failed to mention, because the other guy wasn't here for the majority of the saga is that I have two neighbors, but cat was outside the window of the farthest neighbor the whole day.

the other neighbor, the closest one (right across the hall) I ran into while putting up a lost cat sign (thinking she had already come in and disappeared into the building) We talked a bit, walked back to the apartment, chatted. I went on the fire escape one more time just to be sure that she wasn't on the ledge -- spotted her tucked into a window sill, and he more than gladly kept his window open. That was 10 PM.

He just woke me up like....five minutes ago, saying she was mewling right outside the window (enough to wake him) and he thinks I can grab her. Which I did and the cat surprisingly let me do (she doesn't like to get naped, but she didn't struggle or say a word when I did, she didn't even hiss at a stranger which is when you know she's terrified!)

Note to self: a dude has an iron man mask and a captain america figure on his book case, he's probably not an asshole (A LITTLE YOUNG, ALAS).

Now she's noodling around the apartment ignoring her food entirely (she still hasn't eaten anything set out for her) bless her dumb cat heart.

THANK YOU MEFI FOR YOUR ENDLESS PATIENCE and excellent advice. I am super glad I never have to deal with the other guy again, and even more glad to wake up to dusty cat butt in the morning, aww yeah.

One more for the road, from before The Cat Odyssey

posted by destronomics at 5:26 AM on May 27, 2013 [176 favorites]

Yay! Great news!
posted by travelwithcats at 5:28 AM on May 27, 2013

OH THANK GOD. I've just been reading this, incredibly anxious as to how things were going to turn out.


Oh, but look at that cat belly splayed at the camera. Aww. Wuzza wuzza, kitty!
posted by rmd1023 at 5:28 AM on May 27, 2013 [23 favorites]

Yaaay! I am so glad. I was going to suggest stinky fish like pilchards if nothing else had worked.

I also love that in the first photo she looks sort-of grateful but in the second photo she's back to the not-a-single-fuck-is-given expression that is the default kitteh face.
posted by essexjan at 5:29 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, glad to hear it, and glad to hear neighbors came through after all! Good news all around!
posted by fraula at 5:30 AM on May 27, 2013

SO relieved to see the update. Adorable cat, please stay home for good. And thanks be to your kind neighbor who cared enough to help.
posted by vers at 5:31 AM on May 27, 2013

Ah, now I can close the askmetafilter tab and concentrate on work! So, so glad she's back.
posted by sianifach at 5:31 AM on May 27, 2013

Thank GOD! I was so upset about this last night before I went to bed! Congrats. I'm so relieved for you!
posted by superfille at 5:35 AM on May 27, 2013

By the way, your cat is über adorable
posted by superfille at 5:36 AM on May 27, 2013

Yay!! So happy to hear that!
posted by trillian at 5:38 AM on May 27, 2013

Yay! So happy she is back inside safely.
posted by reptile at 5:39 AM on May 27, 2013

Thank goodness! Isn't it amazing that such a little lump of fur can take up such a huge space in a person's heart? TREATS FOR EVERYONE!!! (So happy that there was a happy ending--NOW you can enjoy your holiday!)
posted by bookmammal at 5:39 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cats are dumb!
posted by Skorgu at 5:43 AM on May 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

I've been checking this thread obsessively since yesterday afternoon. I am so so so relieved your cat is safe!
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:47 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Aww, welcome back pretty kitty. Who's a little furry asshole?
posted by jeather at 5:47 AM on May 27, 2013 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: I really wanted to believe she was having fun, exploring, etc. but I've heard my cat in distress, and I honestly though they sounded like distress mewls all day (different from her current talky) -- she's always been a dumb scared cat with more fear than sense, but I'm glad she was dumb and scared enough to miss the closest open window and come close to Not Asshole's window instead.

and not poop anywhere else.

not that I would have minded paying cash money to have her fear-poop in the asshole neighbor's room, I don't think. But that money can go to buying nice neighbor some THANK YOU FOR BEING AWESOME wine. And also wine for myself, obvy.

One more for the road

posted by destronomics at 5:53 AM on May 27, 2013 [12 favorites]

Yay! Welcome back asshole kitty!
posted by semacd at 5:59 AM on May 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

From what you said I think she was scared and in shock.

But OP, that money goes towards a super-cat-safe-window-screen first me thinks.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:04 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

YAY for kitty being home safe!
posted by leesh at 6:04 AM on May 27, 2013

Thank god safe kitty.
posted by windykites at 6:09 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

So glad kitty is back home safe! I checked this thread first thing when I woke up today.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:16 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, go to Home Depot or similar and buy some adjustable screens for your windows. Measure your windows first so that you get some that expand wide enough.
posted by mareli at 6:16 AM on May 27, 2013


Now if only she could somehow get an opportunity compensate for that crazy stressful day with years and years of a leisurely lifestyle of eating, playing, and sleeping…
posted by ignignokt at 6:16 AM on May 27, 2013

destronomics: "But that money can go to buying nice neighbor some THANK YOU FOR BEING AWESOME wine. And also wine for myself, obvy."

And also a stronger screen for your window. ;-) So glad she's back where she belongs!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:17 AM on May 27, 2013

Response by poster: a metal screen is first on my list, do not worry. I am more than happy to stew in kitty stink until then.
posted by destronomics at 6:34 AM on May 27, 2013

Hooray for the return of mittens!

The outdoors/indoors cat we had growing up used to perch herself in all kinds of crazy places that you would never think she could extract herself from, but cats are pretty good at narrow places and coming around to returning when they darn well please.
posted by lyra4 at 6:43 AM on May 27, 2013

I'm so glad the meezer is back and that it didn't involve the bad neighbor. She's one lucky cat to have such a good surrogate mamakitty.
posted by SillyShepherd at 6:45 AM on May 27, 2013

Yay! What a relief - and what a beautiful little stinker you've got.
posted by leslies at 7:14 AM on May 27, 2013

I'm so glad everything turned out fine! Hurray!

For what it's worth, I would consider giving both of your neighbors small gifts. Both of them were inconvenienced by this incident and helped you out by leaving their windows open as you asked and contacting you in person or via text when they would not have otherwise. They also both had the stress of possibly being responsible for the demise of a kitty if they did something wrong. I know your other neighbor was very rude but it might be a nice gesture to say thank you anyway and give him something, too, because he did try to help and he didn't have to. And you have your cat back now and that's all that matters really. Good luck!
posted by onlyconnect at 7:36 AM on May 27, 2013 [14 favorites]

I, too, checked this thread first thing. What a beautiful girl!
posted by at 7:45 AM on May 27, 2013

Thank god she's back. I checked the thread til late last night, and then opened if first thing this morning, hoping for the best.
posted by nanook at 7:58 AM on May 27, 2013

Yes, bless her dumb cat heart! :)
posted by salvia at 8:39 AM on May 27, 2013

Oh, thank goodness. OK, back to my own life!
posted by thinkpiece at 9:02 AM on May 27, 2013

Hooray!! Pretty cat.
posted by perryfugue at 9:19 AM on May 27, 2013

I'm so glad she's ok.
posted by theora55 at 9:34 AM on May 27, 2013

So we live in the L.A. area and enclosed our entire deck in something called "pet screen". It is available at OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware). OSH has cool coupons (like 20% off most expensive item) occasionally and has a no sales tax sale going on this weekend, I see (through today).

It is made out of vinyl-coated polyester with a metal core or something like that and costs around $25 for a gigantic sheet. Use a staple gun to fit it to the appropriate size, we literally used it in gigantic sheets to entirely enclose our outdoor deck to make it habitable by cats.

We have two big (20+ lbs and it is muscle according to the vet) cats who are very interested in exploring the outdoors and they haven't managed to make a dent in it 2.5 years after install was completed. Highly recommended..
posted by arnicae at 10:15 AM on May 27, 2013 [11 favorites]

Response by poster: oh score, I'm right next to an OSH, thank you arnicae!
posted by destronomics at 10:48 AM on May 27, 2013

Yay! So happy your kitty is safe.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:20 AM on May 27, 2013

My vote is either ignore the condescending jerk who probably lied about thinking that things were taken care of even while poor kitty cried and cried, or maybe give him like, a thank you note, but give his portion of beer and home-baked cookies to the dude who got up at 5 am!
posted by salvia at 11:32 AM on May 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

I just told my cat your story but I think he missed it because he was too scared of the slippers I'm wearing.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 12:21 PM on May 27, 2013 [15 favorites]

woo hoo! kitty is home. she looks sweet. personally, i'd give the neighbor a break. baked goods like cookies, rice krispy treats, etc. for both of them would be a really nice gesture.
posted by wildflower at 12:37 PM on May 27, 2013

Been following this thread - glad to hear she is okay!
posted by radioamy at 12:47 PM on May 27, 2013

Yeah, for the asshole neighbor I say still drop by a note and a plate of cookies in sheer self-defense. You have to live next to him and speaking from personal experience, asshole neighbors can actually make your life surprisingly annoying.
posted by arnicae at 2:24 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pretty girl! So glad she's back!!

Hey, now that the crisis is over, can someone tell me what the awesome flaming purple tree is in the first picture (over to the left)??
posted by clone boulevard at 2:30 PM on May 27, 2013

Clone Boulevard: That's a Jacaranda. They're in full bloom here in So Cal right now.
posted by jvilter at 2:46 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

jvilter: Thanks a bunch! Never saw one before, living in the non-Jacaranda northeast, as I do. Nifty!
posted by clone boulevard at 2:52 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sorry I missed this, but so happy to hear the good news. My little buddy would end up dead if something like that ever happened. I am sure he would return safely, but I would then kill him for doing it.
posted by Samizdata at 3:43 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, I got asshole neighbor some wine. Rationally, I can understand his frustration, but there's a part of me that just doesn't want to reward his needlessly condescending behavior. I'm still side-eyeing like woah the whole "if you're going to be passive and not do anything" and the "animals run away, get over it" with the cat RIGHT IN HIS WINDOW THE WHOLE TIME that even his girlfriend was like "LET IT GO, BUDDY" with her eyes.

But you know what, maybe he'll share the wine with his gal:

Nice neighbor is getting also getting wine, with a side of some sweet comic books I have from work, and awesome apartment manager that helped me canvass the building when we thought she was lost (they are big animal lovers, this is an uber-animal friendly building, ledges over the abyss aside) gets a six pack of beer I know they like.

And cat gets a goddamn collar with her name on it for her to glare at me with. Enjoy, you asshole cat, you earned it.
posted by destronomics at 5:17 PM on May 27, 2013 [23 favorites]

What a saga.

Glad it's over.

Takeaway for mefi: Cat stranded on a ledge? Snoozer. Chill.

One more data point for my series:

Cat Skeletons found in trees and on ledges: Current count = 0;

( One could post a link to an elixir for eternal life or some honest to god aphrodisiac and get less traffic. ) Sheez.

(I frigging LOVE cats and especially like how they make total dingbats out of us superior humans. You try that trick of spending the night on a ledge and tell me... who's the uber species?)
posted by FauxScot at 5:46 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't know how any of you were so calm as to tell this poster to relax or leave the house - I would have been literally puking from fear and anxiety and just seeing the first pic of where the kitty was made me feel sick. I am SO glad cat is home safe and sound, whew!
posted by agregoli at 2:55 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

This thread was hilarious.
posted by w1nt3rmut3 at 3:04 PM on May 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

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