I have two cats that can't seem to come down from their high (~20') perches inside a wooden barn. How can I get them down?
The frame of the barn consists of large (~12x12 inch) vertical and horizontal beams. The vertical beams are spaced at about four feet. Over the last few days, they've worked their way up near the top.
I'm not certain they haven't been down, since I have another (ground based) cat running around, but the overall food consumption indicates they have not been eating and their positions haven't changed for over 24 hours now.
Recently, I put boards near their perches that lead to a lower levels. And I've put food on those boards, about 1-3 feet below their current positions.
My ladders will reach anywhere but I'm afraid I could knock them down if I try to grab them. I've recently put food about one foot below one of them and about three feet below the other.
Background: I recently adopted/rescued/?? three feral cats from a county sponsored program (chipped/snipped/clipped). I didn't expect them to be very friendly, but two are terrified of people. The terrestrial cat is quite social as long as you don't try to touch him. After the prescribed three weeks in crates in the barn, I released them. The two immediately started climbing the walls. The other tries desperately to get stepped on.
Update: I placed food and water right next to them and they have both eaten a little. One is looking better and getting around some (still staying 12+ feet up). The other still seems a little lethargic but has moved to a less precarious position. I feel like can manage it now. I think they went about three days without food or water. So in the end, I think both answers I received were important. I gave them an easy way to get down via boards at a reasonable slope, and I put food right next to them, which I've subsequently moved a little further away. It may be a while before they get to the ground again, but I think we'll get there eventually.
Another Update: It turns out that the terrestrial cat is quite territorial and would not allow the others near the ground. Moved him to a different part of the barn and one of the high-up cats started coming down to visit. But he would chase the other high-up if she came down lower. It's a mess.