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My boyfriend and I adopted a cat from a family friend. She rescued this cat from being outside and was with her for about a week before we got her. We brought her home, and she immediately ran under the bed, which I expected. We had all kind of treats and food and water set up for her and stay out of the room.

Later we when we went to bed that night, we noticed that she still hadn’t eaten, but she was still under our bed. We figured she would come out while we slept. Well we woke up this morning and she still hadn’t come out. So we left the room and went out to our living room. We both ended up napping for a little while, and when we woke back up and went to check, she was no longer under the bed.

We tore this place apart and she is nowhere to be found. There is absolutely no way she could’ve gotten outside or into our basement. We live in 1st floor apartment. It’s been about 12 hours since we’ve seen her last, and over a day since she’s had any food. I am trying not to panic, but she’s only about 6 months old, and I would never forgive myself if anything happens to her.

We have food, water, treats and catnip out in every room just in case she isn’t in our room anymore. I just don’t know what else to do! Please help me!

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    Welcome to Pets, if a cat is stops eating for longer than 24 hours then it is at risk of getting a potentially fatal metabolic disease named feline hepatic lipidosis; please contact veterinarian as fast as possible about this, your cat's life is in danger, it is important to contact a veterinarian in this case.
    – lila
    Jan 3 at 22:43
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I hope you find the cat. When you do, take her to a vet immediately.

It's not uncommon for cats to be wary of a new environment, especially with people in it. It's normal adaptive behavior. However, some cats, whether because of age or character, can end up starving themselves over it, which is what you need to prevent.

Ideally:

  • When the cat arrives, put it in a separate room, so you have a handle on its location.
  • Provide food, water, litter box, and hiding spaces in the room. But try to ensure that the hiding spaces are manageable for you to get the cat out when necessary, e.g. cardboard boxes.
  • Enter the room daily, bring treats, sit down in a corner, don't do much other than observe. Bring a book or something. The idea is to be present without demanding anything of the cat. Depending on the cat, they might interact with you, or it might take time.
  • This period could last weeks. This is speaking from personal experience, though our cats are extremely shy.
  • When the cats are comfortable with you (I expected them to let me pet them when eating treats as a baseline), let them out once in a while, but try to do it in little steps. First time, only give them access to the hallway connected to their room. When they are comfortable with it, show them the next room. And so on.
  • While collars aren't easy to put on initially, if the cat finds itself with free access to your house and all of its nooks and crannies (whether because you have no spare room or on one of its smaller excursions), a collar with a bell will dramatically help locate them. You can consider putting one on them when you can't control their location.
  • I'm aware this isn't always feasible based on your living conditions. But it's a guideline, and try to stick to the general idea of keeping the cat in its own separate space so it can acclimatize.

Since you're already in the situation that you are, what I suggest you do is:

  • Find the cat. Room temperature meat or fish tends to lure them in (when you're nowhere near present, but your cat might be too scared to respond to anything.
  • Don't forget to check tiny holes such as in your kitchen cupboard panels, or if there are holes on top of cupboards. We once had a cat climb the fridge and then get stuck between the fridge and wall, behind a panel, because the top wasn't covered.
  • Similarly, cats can tear a hole in the bottom of a couch and climb in it. Just some ideas to help you look.
  • Take her to the vet. Presumably, the vet will give them an injection to keep them nourished, and may give you extra supplements to offset the period of not eating.
  • When the cat returns home, try to find an enclosed space for it and follow the above tips as best as you can.

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