General Question

johnpowell's avatar

Feral cat on neighbors roof and doesn't want to come down. Does anyone have any insight?

Asked by johnpowell (17844points) July 20th, 2016

My mom alerted me to a cat that is on the neighbors roof and got pretty violent when it was attempted to be removed by a guy that is remodeling the house. He gave up since he was scared of the cat. It appears the cat has been up there for two days that we know of. It howls when we get close.

The police have been called and they don’t care.

It is 85ยบ here so the cat has been cooking on the roof with little shade.

I placed food and water up there (two things of water to be precise since one is on the other slope) and a few long boards so the cat can walk down.

Here is the best part. My cat followed me while I was doing this and walked up the plank. Ate some of the food and walked back down.

I guess my question is how do I get this fucking cat down without getting rabies?

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33 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Try putting the food closer to the other end of the board, lure him down with it. By “lure him down” with it, I mean put some stinky (canned cat food, tuna or sardines) away from the roof and then leave him overnight. He likely won’t come down with you guys nearby. Nice of you to try so hard.

johnpowell's avatar

I just gave this a go with a full can of tuna.

We have four cats here. Hopefully roof-cat notices it first.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I think there’s a good chance that other cats/raccoons/other critters will get to the food. Unfortunately, that’s a risk. I’d put it out late at night when no one will be around and he is more likely to creep down. Maybe right before bed (assuming you go to sleep in the evening).

Seek's avatar

I had an incredibly stupid cat who loved to climb trees but couldn’t figure out how to climb back down.

I used to have spray her with a garden hose until she spazzed so hard she fell out of the tree.

Took three go-arounds before she stopped climbing.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m leaning towards another can of tuna perhaps a foot down the plank from the roof. Just so it knows the plank is safe and will hopefully keep walking.

This is going to sound horrible.

But the roof that the cat is on has a shallow pitch. The problem is there is a roof attached that is too steep for me to walk on and the cat can traverse. I kinda just want to go up there and push them off with a 2X4. It is only 8 feet of a fall.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

You might not have to push it off, if you push it to the edge where he feels he can’t get around you, he might just jump down.

syz's avatar

As one of our techs used to tell people who called us at the emergency clinic about cats in trees: “When you look up, you don’t see cat skeletons hanging in trees. It’ll come down.”

On a serious note, feral cats are extremely dangerous. The fact that it’s not leaving makes me wonder if she’s got kittens under an eve somewhere (that’s how I wound up with one of my cats, she was a kitten that rolled off of the roof).

Some rescue groups will come out and set up have-a-heart traps baited with food. You might try calling around.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Err…..a shotgun does wonders, but if you are squeamish, get one of those small animals traps and pit some bacon and milk in it.

Seek's avatar

@syz – the guy working at the local tree service makes fun of people who say that.

kritiper's avatar

Get up there with a hose and a spray nozzle. Blast the cat. It’ll come down!

Coloma's avatar

If it’s 85 in the sun it is hotter on the roof. Be sure to out a big bowl of water up there too. Load it up with ice cubes that will keep the water cool as they melt. I vote for leaving food, water and the plank and then just leaving the cat alone over night and see what happens.

Yep, call a rescue group to maybe trap it and check for kittens too! The cat got up there somehow so don’t push it off the roof, it could get hurt. It’s really a myth that cats don’t get injured in falls, they absolutely can and do.

ibstubro's avatar

I agree with @syz.
Ignoring a cat does wonders.
If it has food, water, and entertainment it might stay up there forever.

Alternately, you might put the board on one side of the roof and spray the roof with water from the other side.

I love cats.
I do not love feral cats. I’d call animal control. If they euthanized it, I would not feel guilty. Pets that toy with your emotions are hilariously entertaining. Wild animals that toy with your emotions are, well, feral cats! Freaking annoying. I mean, how many feral dogs have you seen rolling on their back begging for a belly rub, only to jump up and run like you’re the devil incarnate when you get 24” away??
Cats love me.

Buttonstc's avatar
The above is the contact page for the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon.

The other group in your location handling ferals is:
Give both of them a call. I know that most feral cat rescue groups are very experienced in how to trap and handle ferals. Let the experts deal with this.

These groups typical policy is TNR (trap, neuter, and return). They don’t routinely kill them.


The problem with ferals has been totally created by INDIFFERENT HUMANS who routinely abandon their pet cats when it’s no longer convenient for them.

And, typically, these former “beloved pets” have never been neutered either so they continue breeding unregulated.

After being dumped to fend for themselves is is any wonder that they are now distrustful of humans?

I can understand you not wanting to interact with ferals, so don’t. But your anger is misplaced. It should be directed at the heartless brainless idiots who created the situation and CONTINUE to do the same.

If people would be responsible and neuter their pets and take them to an animal shelter or rescue group when they no longer can care for them, the Feral problem would not exist.

This is the DIRECT result of the absolute INHUMANITY of human beings. Totally.

Buttonstc's avatar

Now that I think about it further, as someone else mentioned, there is a strong possibility that there are kittens involved somehow. It is kitten season, after all.

By calling one of these groups, it gives the kittens the best chance of not remaining as ferals and being adopted into loving homes.

Just take a look at all those adorable little faces on the Meow Village website. Apparently they have a terrific track record in getting feral kittens into loving homes.

I think that’s the one I’d call first if I were there.

johnpowell's avatar

During my tuna placement earlier I was able to sex the cat. It is swinging pipe so I am not concerned about kittens.

I got a look and this cat is fairly young. I am guessing under six months.

Buttonstc's avatar

Ha ha. Good observation skills there.

But if he’s that young there might even be a chance that he could be rehabilitated (or at least neutered so he doesn’t continue the cycle)

johnpowell's avatar

It is 1AM here so in the morning I am going to make some calls to the organizations you recommended and try to sort this out.

My mom has the contact info for the owners of the house and she contacted them to make sure we had had permission to enter their property. I didn’t really give a fuck when I first saw the cat and just climbed the fence and dragged the ladder behind me.

ibstubro's avatar

I was actually thinking of barn cats, when I wrote my post, @Buttonstc.
Generations of cats allowed to revert to their natural, feral, state.

Cats, like people, are animals, and will always exist in their natural, wild, or feral state. The rabbit in my yard is adorable, but I don’t feel a need to rehabilitate it.

Zaku's avatar

Has the cat been up there a whole night yet already? If not, I think it’s likely to find its own way down overnight, when no humans are around.

If it’s still there tomorrow, I’d definitely call Meow Village and/or the other group to help. They will probably come out, or at least be able to give you guidance.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t agree with TNR practices. Barn cats yes, ( a big success in my area with feral barn cat programs ) and taming, adoption yes, but…I think it is inhumane to keep colonies of feral cats out there for many reasons. The elements, predators, preying on small wildlife and still a very harsh quality of life.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t understand why animal control won’t help. He’ll our ac guy traps our own family cat on OUR property when he’s bored.

@seek…your answer cracked me up I can so see it in my mind!

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Our AC will rent out traps but they don’t actually come and set them up for you. There are probably some rescue groups that might.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Shoot. I wish I’d kept the trap when I stole it and put it in my house but I gave it back to him. I would send it to you.

I guess it just depends on where you live @Coloma.

Buttonstc's avatar


So what is your alternative to TNR? Just kill them all?

Yes, I agree about barn cats but especially in a city area, that’s just not feasible. There are only so many farmers wanting barn cats. And typically they want one or two, not dozens.

With the Neuter part of TNR at least one of the biggest sources of distress in their life is eliminated since the males are no longer battling each other and the colony is stable without rapidly expanding populations.

And they do have dedicated humans providing g them with food on a regular basis. So, apart from mean kids throwing rocks at them or torturing them, how is there life that much harder than a typical indoor/outdoor pet cat?

I do know that most of these feral rescue groups do also give them a thorough medical exam after trapping and do euthanize any sickly ones.

Aside from killing them all, what other alternatives exist? It would be nice if people stopped abandoning their “inconvenient” pets but we know that’s not happening…so?

Buttonstc's avatar


I agree that if there are cats who’ve found a home on a farm with a barn for shelter that they’re unlikely to need rehabilitating. If they have a symbiotic relationship with the farmer and aren’t reproducing unchecked there isn’t much need for intervention.

I’ve lived most of my life in highly populated urban areas where the problem of ferals is entirely different. And it is a real problem, hence the need for feral rescue groups.

Coloma's avatar

@Buttonstc In areas where the winters are severe, the east coast, Canada, many parts of the Rockies, I feel it is a miserable circumstance for these cats. In city environments you have severe weather and other hazards such as potential abuse, poisoning by people that hate cats. roving dogs, etc.
Yes, I do think that humane euthanasia is preferable to a life of fear, misery, discomfort for many cats. I also don’t think living in an inner city environment isn’t safe or of a good quality either.

They can’t all be saved and there are things worse than death for many homeless animals.
Keeping hundreds of feral cats alive, regardless of quality of life is not a solution. Sadly, until people take more responsibility for their animals, stop breeding and abandoning them a certain amount of euthanasia is the way it has to be. I am a strong believer in quality of life over quantity and this trend to save everything, no matter how sick, disfigured, or disabled is not always the highest choice for the animal.

We have a 2 yr. old, rescued from slaughter, mustang filly we are trying to re-home, at no charge but she has severe club feet, will not be able to be ridden and needs corrective hoof trimming every 5–8 weeks. She is very sweet, halter trained and loves attention but very few people want to adopt a horse that is not rideable as a pasture pet. We are hopeful someone might adopt her as a companion animal to another horse but so far, no takers.

johnpowell's avatar

Thought I would give a status update. The cat came down around 5AM last night. I have no clue where it went and I haven’t seen it since. It did end up using the plank I put out that lead to our fence.

Brian1946's avatar

Catwalks a plank to food and freedom- nice turn on pirates and runway modeling.

Coloma's avatar

@johnpowell Maybe still keep an eye out for little pussy, maybe you can still catch him/her and take them to a shelter or rescue. If it’s a young kitty and not too feral it might get adopted.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m glad to hear that he got down safely. You have a kind heart.

If it were a female, we could have named her Blanche (“I’ve always relied upon the kindness of strangers”)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good name for a black cat!

Response moderated (Spam)
Coloma's avatar

My grandmothers name was Blanche, maybe the cat is my reincarnated grandmother. lol

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