I've Failed The Cat Lady - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

I've Failed The Cat Lady

 
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:07 PM   #1
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I've Failed The Cat Lady


EDIT: Cat was finally recovered after being trapped for nine days.

Got a referral from a very loyal customer to go help out a co-worker who just moved into a townhouse with her three cats.

One of them is missing, somewhere in the bowels of the house.

She's heard the cat crying; even has recordings of it. I tore open ductwork and made swiss cheese of the drywall with a 4" hole saw with no luck. She called a historical restoration company, and the guy came over with a scope and high-end thermal imager--no luck.

Her dad stopped by with HIS hole saw and made Alpine Lace out of my swiss cheese. Still no cat.

She's not just being sneaky, either. Food and water left out are untouched, and she's sounding weaker all the time. Unfortunately, she's not very talkative, and absolutely clams up when strangers are in the house, so I haven't had a chance to hear her myself.

It's been seven days.

Any ideas? You can keep the smartass ones to yourself; this is serious.

Last edited by Tinstaafl; 07-13-2014 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:18 PM   #2
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


That's awful to hear an animal suffer. It must be trapped/hooked somewhere. Can you bring in a dog to catch a scent?

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Old 07-11-2014, 08:18 PM   #3
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


honestly? Ive found cats in crawlspaces hiding ABOVE the insulation but UNDER the subfloor sitting on blocking or caught in wire. You can try looking around the foundation for disturbed ground assuming its an unfinished basement. Sump pumps, pull out the dishwasher and look there, same for the range. Behind washer/dryer. If there is a drop cieling, there too. Attics are ALWAYS a good bet too. You could even try to look under stairs. My house for instance has a closet that extends under the stairs on the 1st floor but its completely closed off.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:18 PM   #4
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


what about a search and rescue dog?
What about another thermal imaging camera? Maybe there was something wrong with the first one or it wasn't sensitive enough.

That's all I got right now
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:21 PM   #5
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


When was the last time she heard the cast?
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:26 PM   #6
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


We had to get a cat out of a house once. Thing was going through all sorts of weird passages in a garage with a storage space built above it.

Point of story, we finally got it after it got stuck trying to out of a wall with 1/4" panelling. The thing got half way through a hole for a single gang box. We pried off that panel and get it unstuck, but cats can fit places that don't look remotely possible. I hope you can find it.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:26 PM   #7
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


Or if there is a furnace, check that as well. Being its an old house, thats an option too.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:28 PM   #8
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


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Originally Posted by SteveinNEPA View Post
Or if there is a furnace, check that as well. Being its an old house, thats an option too.
Yup, possibly the clean-out door at the bottom of the chimney...even for just an oil-fired furnace.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:29 PM   #9
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


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honestly? Ive found cats in crawlspaces hiding ABOVE the insulation but UNDER the subfloor sitting on blocking or caught in wire. You can try looking around the foundation for disturbed ground assuming its an unfinished basement. Sump pumps, pull out the dishwasher and look there, same for the range. Behind washer/dryer. If there is a drop cieling, there too. Attics are ALWAYS a good bet too. You could even try to look under stairs. My house for instance has a closet that extends under the stairs on the 1st floor but its completely closed off.
Pretty much covered all of that that's applicable. She only hears the cat when standing at the foot of the basement stairs, and it sounds like it's in the basement ceiling, which is rough-drywalled. I've poked a hole in every joist bay.

The townhouse is a center unit, so the block walls go uninterrupted up to the attic. Basement windows and wells are cat-proof. No sump.

I've seldom felt so clueless.

I also have no clue how a rescue dog would work in this situation.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:31 PM   #10
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


Any dog really, who is interested in cats and NOT shy about new places. Will sniff it out to some degree.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:33 PM   #11
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


Basement ceiling... What about where the stairs go up to the next floor? Is there space behind there? ANYWHERE at all? Maybe boxed in to you but accessible by a cat? Kinda like rodents in a way, can squeeze into all kinds of spaces that look impossible.

edit. Just occured to me, my wifes parents cat was lost for 3 days, barely made a sound. He was UNDER a vanity. The type with 4 feet and that stupid crescent cut out in the base. Anything like that in the basement?
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:35 PM   #12
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


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Or if there is a furnace, check that as well. Being its an old house, thats an option too.
I didn't say it's old, but matter of fact it was built in 1954.

It has a much newer furnace, but I checked that out thoroughly. there is a bit of a mystery with the cold air returns--only the first floor has 3 of them ducted directly into the furnace. Other returns just feed into the open air of the basement space. Wierd. She said the guy with the scope was puzzled over that too.

She heard the cat this morning.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:37 PM   #13
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


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Any dog really, who is interested in cats and NOT shy about new places. Will sniff it out to some degree.
Keep in mind she has two other cats.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:39 PM   #14
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


chimney or plumbing chase ????

is there a dead space between unit separation walls ??
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:42 PM   #15
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


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I didn't say it's old, but matter of fact it was built in 1954. .
I know some of central PA lol, was a hunch
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:43 PM   #16
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Keep in mind she has two other cats.
crate then and take them out of the house?
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:46 PM   #17
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


Cats are capable of climbing in ways you don't understand. So if that goes up to the attic the cat could very well be up there.
Personally I'd get a stethoscope and start tapping on the walls and ceiling just to see where it might be.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:48 PM   #18
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


Try sprinkling catnip around the house. it may draw it out of its hiding spot. put it all over though around the perimeter and by any openings. if the cat doesn't come out, it may at least get louder.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:53 PM   #19
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


That's a rough one J.

With dogs, if you can't find one all you have to do is ring the doorbell and they present themselves fast.

What about the same line of thinking. If the cat is used to canned food, perhaps running the can opener in different areas including might get a response by the owner doing it with nobody else around.

Can you find out what the cat is afraid of? If it's dogs bring one in and you might hear enough activity to narrow it down.

Now I really wish I didn't open this thread. Poor creature.

I'll look online for some other ideas and try to come up with some myself.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:58 PM   #20
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Re: I've Failed The Cat Lady


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