Trapping Tips

  1. Set up a daily routine by feeding the cats at the same place and time. It is also important to identify all the cats in the colony.
  2. Withhold food one day prior to trapping. Hunger is the key element in enticing them into the trap. Use any strong-smelling food, such as tuna or mackerel. which they find irresistible. Place newspaper on the bottom of the trap and trail bits of food from the front to the back, placing most of the food behind the treadle which they must step on in order for the trap to close.
  3. When trapping, place the trap in a quiet, safe place, where they are accustomed to feeding and where you can see or hear when a cat is trapped without interfering in the trapping process. (Watch the trap from inside your car, house, or another area where the cats can't see you). Do not leave the trap unattended as a cat in a trap is helpless and vulnerable to the weather, passers by, and other potential dangers.
  4. Setting more than one trap at a time is helpful in completing the trapping quickly. Some cats, when they see their fellow colony members trapped may become trap shy. However, with patience, you can eventually lure the shy ones into the traps as well. Remember to securely lock the back door so the cats do not escape from the trap.
  5. Once trapped, some cats may panic and thrash about. Place a cover over the trap (a towel or sheet works fine) to calm the cat. Do not panic and do not release the cat. It may difficult to trap the cat again that day. Cats may cut or scrape their faces in the trap. These injuries are usually superficial and will not cause permanent damage. Leave the cat in a covered trap for transportation to the vet. Do not let the cat loose in a room or attempt to transfer into a carrier. The cat will be safe and secure in the trap and will be ready for the veterinarian to treat. If necessary, the cat can stay in the trap for a day or two until the veterinarian can perform surgery. Remember to withhold food and water 6-8 hours before surgery. (Except for kittens)
  6. After surgery, the cat can be placed directly back into the trap with clean newspaper on the bottom. Cats should be held for at least 24 hours and can be returned to the colony the next day if their eyes are clear and they are alert. Cats can be kept in the trap for a couple of days if necessary, simply slip food and water carefully through the back door, being sure to secure the lock.
  7. If you need the trap for another cat, you can move the cat into a "transfer" cage especially made for this purpose. Do not transfer into a carrier. You could lose the cat. The transfer cage is made to fit snugly against the trap. The two back doors slide up to allow you to gently prod the cat encouraging her to move from the trap and into the transfer cage. It is helpful to have an assistant with you to do the relocation and even the trapping.
  8. Return the cat back to their colony and make sure fresh food and water are provided. Monitor their health closely for the next week to ten days.