Two Oregon cats keep disappearing into the air ducts

DEAR JOAN: Last week, when we moved into a new house, we put our two indoor-only cats in a room with their things, intending to keep them safely sequestered until after the furniture was unloaded the following day.

Unfortunately, the cats had other ideas. They removed the grill from the floor vent and disappeared into the ducts. It was almost 24 hours, before we were able to rescue them.

We blocked as many vents as we could, putting heavy items on the edges so they couldn’t be moved or placing items over the vents to allow the air conditioning to work but blocking access.

Then today, one of the cats found a vent we missed and she disappeared into it for 10 hours. These are standard floor vents that simply lift out. We had the same type in the old house, and the cats never showed any interest. Any suggestions for how we can keep our overly adventuresome cats safe?

Elizabeth Luce, Eugene, Oregon

DEAR ELIZABETH: Perhaps you could start hiring out your cats as expert duct inspectors.

The cats probably were disconcerted by the move and the new digs. Being confined in a strange room might have triggered a need to escape. I suspect they’ll stop their duct explorations, when they feel more settled. Keeping their consistent routine will help — same meal, bed and play times — as will giving them a chance to put their scents on the new house. Until then, I’d look into securing the ducts in place so that they can’t be easily removed.

Then I’d hide the torch and crowbar.

DEAR JOAN: Do you know if anyone still makes or carries Grant’s Ant Stakes?

I’ve tried all the powders, spices and other remedies, and none of them are effective. The Grant’s Ant Stakes, on the other hand, destroy ants and their nests within a day or two. I always put one stake at each corner of the house, one under the kitchen window and one by the back deck supports. They were effective for about a year.

We haven’t been able to find any in stores or online. I can’t imagine why they would quit making them, or why stores would quit carrying them. The only other thing is to spray the ants with Windex. It kills on contact, but doesn’t last beyond the actual spraying.

I am at my wit’s end trying to find something that actually works. Can you find out what has happened to Grant’s?

Jill C. Swanson, San Jose

DEAR JILL: The company that makes Grant’s Ant Stakes has stopped making them, citing a change in production that caused it phase out the stakes. The same company is now marketing a similar product under the name Amdro.

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