Trapping feral cats is not always easy especially after the first ones have been caught. The others in the colony see what happened and stay away from the traps. Therefore it works better to have as many traps as you can for the first session so you can catch as many as possible the first time. Each situation is different and improvisation helps.
Traps: Use only humane traps and be sure they are in good condition to avoid injury.
Tops & Bottoms: I like to have solid surfaces on the top and bottom of my traps. A solid bottom protects the feet more and a solid top offers some weather protection and makes the cat feel more protected. Neither of these is essential, just my preference.
Blankets: I always like to have a blanket to place over each trap after a cat is caught. It helps keep them quieter as they feel more protected because they cannot see you.
Food: Any smelly canned food that will entice them into the trap is fine. I like the small cans as I just pop the top and leave it in the trap as is. No dishes required. If you prefer to use a large can for several traps use small paper plates for each trap. Quick clean up.
Preparation: Get the cats used to being fed (if they are not already) by placing food where you plan to trap. Do this for a few days (just before dark each day) before the planned trap date to get them used to coming at the same time. And, be sure you have an appointment with the vet. They will not be happy if you arrive unannounced!
Setting: Set the trap(s) just before dark when the cats are more likely to be around. Place them near their usual food source.
Check: Be sure to check each trap at least once every day, preferably never leaving a trap unattended for more than a few hours. DO NOT trap in extreme weather conditions such as winter storms or very hot or cold days to avoid unnecessary suffering.
Second try: You caught as many as you could the first attempt but there are still others left to catch. Now what? Leave them alone a few days. The trapped ones will have returned after surgery and vaccinations so let things settle down. Be sure they are all fed, preferably at the time you plan to try trapping again. When it has been possible I have left the traps there and fed near them. The cats will get used to them being safe. Then when you are ready, set them again and start the process over. Caught one already neutered? Let it go and try again!
Multiples: When conditions are right I like to try to get multiple cats in a trap. The right conditions are when I have the time to sit and watch a trap and there are just a few cats. This has worked well for me when I am catching a litter, or several young adults. It takes a stick and a lot of strong string or rope. Prop up the trap door with the stick with one end of the string tied to it. Then let out the string and go to a place where you can see the trap, but not be seen. If you are lucky you will get several of the cats in the trap eating the food and just pull the string and the trap door shuts. Be prepared to see them wildly try to get out but they will be fine if you quickly go put the blanket over the trap to help settle them down.
Note, when you are going to try this method you will have to do it early in the day so the cats can be taken to the vetís for surgery. Preparing the cats by feeding early in the day will have them there when you are ready to try this method.
Trash: Do not leave trash at the sight. Put your can tops, cans, all garbage in a bag and take it away with you. Not only will it leave the area cleaner it will not leave behind items that can harm an animal or attract unwanted animals.
Skunk! It is black and white like a cat and is the right size but itís a polecat! Donít panic, this is easily handled. Have a stick handy to prop open the trap door. Slowly approach the trap with a blanket hanging in front of you. The skunk canít see you, just your eyes peering over the blanket, which is just dragging on the ground hiding your feet too. If the skunk stamps its feet ñ STOP and wait until it calms down. It will sniff a lot trying to ascertain danger. Slowly move forward. As you get to the trap, slowly lower the blanket over the trap. Skunks normally do not spray what they canít see as long as they do not feel threatened. Slowly prop open the trap door with the stick and then slowly peel the blanket away or the skunk will stay where it is dark. It wonít be long before the skunk ambles out and goes about its business. Iíve trapped many skunks and never been sprayed. Keep a cool head and do everything SLOWLY watching its reactions. Youíll have a great story to tell everyone!
Note: It is illegal in Vermont to relocate live-trapped wildlife. Consult your Game Warden if you have a problem wild animal.
Back to Articles
Web Site Donated by Emerson Web