Hello,
I have a problem with one of our cats that has just cropped up within the last week. We have a ~12 year-old cat and at the beginning of September we moved to a new house about 40 miles away from the house that he has lived in for 99% of his life.
Everything seemed OK until about a week ago, but since then he has gotten stuck in the bottom of a storm drain at the end of our culdesac four times. We've been able to get him out OK, it's a big hassle and it's happened FOUR TIMES in the last week and is starting to get on our nerves a little.
He is an outdoor/indoor cat, but he usually sticks close to the house or stays in the garage or driveway. I haven't seen any big dogs loose and only one other cat in the new neighborhood, so it doesn't look like he is being chased into the storm drain.
I live in Arlington, TX, and it has not rained much since we moved the cats, until the last weekend. We are concerned that we will not notice him missing one day and a storm will come along, especially with Winter (such as it is in Texas) coming. He's not the brightest cat I've ever seen, but you would think he would have learned his lesson after the second or third time he got stuck down there, especially the time it started to lightly rain.
It has been suggested that he is nosing around for rats that are in the drainage system and then just can't get out because of the sheer drop of about 4 feet that follows the slanted concrete that extends from the curb. He is an overwieght cat and while he can jump onto a table, he needs a little more runway than is available in the storm drain. And with the table he lands on a flat surface rather than one that would cause him to fall back off.
It has been suggested that we pour ammonia around the drain as a form of deterrence and to cover the smell of the rats (if that is what he is doing in the first place). Is this effective? If it is, how have you done it in the past (ie. spraying or pouring it around the opening)? If it's not effective, do you have any suggestions for deterring him from approaching the storm drain opening?

If anyone has any advice, I would really appreciate it.

Philip
Arlington, TX
1 2
The best advice is to neuter him (if not already done) and keep him in the house. Remember the old saying "curiosity killed the cat". Those storm drains look like inviting hiding caves. Whether there are rats or not, the cat will want to investigate. They will also use the drains for shelter if frightened. Ferals here freeze to death in the storm drains in winter. It is up to you whether you want to protect your cat and there is only one good way to do it. MLB
Interesting comment about cats freezing to death in storm drains. With Arlington being in north Texas, I know that occasionally in winter it can get as low as 10 degrees, which would be cold enough to cause great harm, if not death.
Regarding pouring ammonia around the drain, it is illegal in Texas (and probably most states) to pour any such substance into the drain or in such a place that it would run into the drain.
I hope you'll take Briggs' advice and make your kitty an inside cat.

Best of luck -
Dave
Interesting comment about cats freezing to death in storm drains. With Arlington being in north Texas, I know that occasionally ... the drain. I hope you'll take Briggs' advice and make your kitty an inside cat. Best of luck - Dave

Or build an outdoor enclosure.
Karen
Hello, I have a problem with one of our cats that has just cropped upwithin the last week. We have ... a new house about 40 miles away from the house that he has lived in for 99% of his life.

This cat is wayy too old to be an outdoor cat. Bring him in if you love him.
This cat is wayy too old to be an outdoor cat. Bring him in if you lovehim.

Personally, I think that if you try to make an inside / outside cat a totally inside cat he will inevitably lead a (possibly longer) but unhappy life but having said that I don't really agree with keeping cat's inside all the time anyway (don't flame me for saying that, it's just my opinion!!)

As for the storm drain, if I were you, I would fence your garden in so he can't get off your property (shouldn't be too hard if he can't jump very high
Or, and this is a long shot..when Twink (my cat) continually kept sleeping under my car, I put lots of pepper down underneath it and after Twink sniffed it once (and sneezed a bit) she never went back. Might work!

Jeannie
On the subject of providing warm shelter for outdoor ferals/strays/whatever. There is a product allegedly designed for outdoor use, it's a hard plastic heating pad device with a steel-wrapped cord, and a fleece cover. To be used in garages, or doghouses, or other outdoor enclosures. Has anyone ever tried one, or heard anything about them? I can't see any exposed parts that could be chewed, and they claim to be completely safe. I don't need one now, but in the past I've looked for a way to provide heat for rescues or strays that were staying in the garage and was curious about this.
Sherry
Sherry
This cat is wayy too old to be an outdoor cat. Bring him in ifyou love him.

Hi Mary ,
I don't think 12 too old for a cat to go outside. I don't know what storm drains are like but I would be seriously worried if this was my cat regardless of age .
Alison
An older cat would most likely have more problems dealing with the challenges of outdoor life than a younger cat due to decreased strength, reflex speed, etc. While I was not making a statement about ALL cats (notice I said "this cat") now that you mention it I would say that in my opinion 12 is far too old for a cat to go outside in a potentially dangerous environment. I would also say that 1 is too old for any cat to go out in a potentially dangerous environment. And under 1, all the was to birth. I don't think putting animals in danger is in their best interest.
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