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The Case of the Disappearing Cat
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Thu Mar 25 2010, 06:01PM

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Joined: Sun Feb 28 2010, 10:31PM
Posts: 122

The  Case of The Disappearing Cat

I had never seen this client before. She was very smartly dressed with long blonde hair and startling light blue eyes. Involuntarily I straightened a non-existing tie and squared my shoulders a little.

She introduced herself:

"I'm Michelle and I'm absolutely gutted . We've recently moved into the area and my beloved Persian Snookums has disappeared. I tried the usual stuff, you know, smearing his feet with butter,  keeping him indoors as much as possible, giving him lots of TLC, but it was no good. We left one window open during the night and Snookums must have jumped out and disappeared. Would you mind placing this notice on your board? I love him to bits. In fact he sleeps with me on my bed at night. I don't know what I'd do without him."

I said, "Look, we'll certainly put up a sign, but we'll go further: ask my receptionist to write all your details and a description of your cat in our 'missing pets' book because we often get people 'phoning in to tell us that they've picked up a stray pet."

I asked her if she'd checked at their old house to see if the cat had perhaps found his way home.

She said, "It's not possible for my Snookums to go back home! We've moved from Johannesburg to Durban - that's over 600 kms!"

I told her to 'phone the new owners of their house in Johannesburg just to be on the safe side. I'd heard of cases where cats somehow turned up at their old houses after months of wandering about the country.

A few days later we received a 'phone call from Mrs Verwey, one of our clients. They'd heard pitiful meowing sounds from a drain near their house and picked up a very muddy bedraggled Persian. Right away we 'phoned our new client to tell her about the stray.

She immediately rushed to Mrs Verwey's home and identified Snookums. Although she was overjoyed, she was very worried about how to keep her cat from wandering again.

I asked her if she had any furniture from the old house that would be familiar to Snookums, but unfortunately they'd bought new furniture for their new house. I explained that the cat would be less inclined to wander if they had some familiar smells and textures around the place. It turned out that she had kept her old duvet. So I instructed her to put the old duvet on her bed rather than the new, crisp and very expensive one.

I then gave her specific instructions on how to prevent Snookums from disappearing again:

1. "The first thing we have to do is to place a microchip under the skin of Snookums's neck. Now if he does go astray, all his details will be instantly available to any vet with a scanner.

2. "Keep Snookums indoors for at least two weeks to get used to the new house.

3. "Provide him with small and frequent meals.

4. "Maintain the same routines Snookums was used to in the old house

5. "To help Snookums feel secure in his new home, I suggest that you should spread his scent all over the house. The trick is to take a soft cotton cloth and rub Snookums gently around his cheeks and head to collect the pheromone from glands around his face. Then take the cloth and rub it on the corners of doorways, walls and furniture at 'cat height'. Repeat this process daily until Snookums starts rubbing himself against these objects.

6. "Use this synthetic pheromone diffuser (called 'Feliway'). The pheromone diffuser works like a mosquito repellent plug-in device. It is plugged into an electric socket at cat height. Leave it on continuously for a week or two, rotating it throughout the house, one room at a time. I also suggest you use  'Feliway' aerosol spray liberally around the house.

7. "Chase away any cats if you see them in your garden. He'll need all the help he can get to establish his new territory.

8. "Introduce Snookums to the outdoors gradually by initially opening the door and going into the garden with him.

9. "Once he's used to the new home, fit a cat-flap to the back door.

10. "If he is used to a harness, then it would be useful to walk him around the garden on a lead.

11. "Don't carry him outside, allow him to decide if he wants to explore.

12. "Always keep the door open initially so that he can escape indoors if something frightens him.

Fortunately my new client followed my instructions and Snookums settled down in his new home.

For more on this subject and to learn about how to calm down stressed out cats, please go to our learning page here.

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