Humane Trapping

Humane Trapping Instructions for Feral CatsProvided by Spay/Neuter Your Pet (SNYP) Feral Cat Program

feral-catThere are only two ways to stop feral cats from breeding – either by neutering them through a local trap/neuter/release program or having them humanely put to sleep. To do nothing more than feed them is the wrong thing to do. It is extremely difficult to successfully relocate feral cats as their strongest instinct is to return where they came from. Do not trap and relocate a cat without making certain they can be confined for minimum of 3 to 4 weeks and fed for the rest of their lives.

PREPARATION: “trap training” and targeted feeding time1. It is easier to trap cats if they are used to being fed in the same place at the same time of day. You will have better success if the cats are hungry, so don’t feed the day before you plan to trap. Tell others who may feed the cats no food the day before trapping.

2. “Trap training” is the best way to insure successful capture. Get the cats used to the trap by leaving it set in the feeding area, with the door tied open with a twist tie. Leave it tied open for a few days. Begin to move the food bowls closer to the trap, then put the bowl just inside the trap. Every day move it further back until after a week the cat is eating way in the back of the trap, right where you want it to go for successful capture. 

TRAPPING PROCEDURE1. You will want to trap the cat as close as possible to the time of taking them to their destination. If trapping prior to a vet appointment, you will want to trap the evening before the appointment, or very early that morning, since the cat should have an empty stomach prior to surgery.

2. Place trap on a level surface, where the cats are used to being fed. Test the trap to be sure door is closing completely and smoothly, since you want to avoid a mechanical failure.

3. Use smelly bait like canned meat cat food, canned mackerel or tuna, or canned ham. Don’t leave food anywhere but in the trap. Trap training is not always necessary or possible, but it works.

4. Use a small square of tin foil or newspaper about 4”x4” and place a tablespoon of food and juice on it. Some people soak a piece of paper towel in the juices and place food on the towel. Put this all the way in the rear of the trap, against the back of the cage.

5. After setting traps, back off and move out of the immediate area so the cats will approach and eat as usual. The trick is to act like everything is perfectly normal, be calm and matter of fact.

6. Do not leave traps unattended. Hang around nearby, but out of sight, or check the traps every 10 minutes. It’s best to stay within sight or hearing of the traps so you can remove the trapped animal immediately from the area.

7. WHEN YOU CATCH A CAT, IMMEDIATELY COVER THE TRAP COMPLETELY with a bed sheet or blanket. Otherwise they cat may try to get out and hurt itself. Remove the trap to a quiet area. Always KEEP TRAP COVERED!

8. Cat must be held overnight in a quiet, safe, protected area (like a garage) where it will not be bothered. DO NOT OPEN TRAP or allow children or other animals near the trap. Always keep trap covered.

9. Put down a plastic tarp or trash bags, newspaper, and a towel under the trap in your car to protect your car. Keep trap covered at all times. Do not transport cats in closed trunk of car.

Thank you for making an effort to do the right thing and minimize suffering caused by too many strays and feral cats.