Live trapping feral cats?
I'm going to try my hand at live trapping a kitten - he/she looks to be about two months old - this weekend and was wondering if anyone had any tips to get the little guy as quickly as possible? I plan to put smelly food in the trap and set it in the same spot I fed him this morning, but besides that, is there anything else I can do to entice him?
I saw the poor little guy in my apartment building parking lot, crying as if his heart were breaking. I tried three times to catch him but the poor little guy was terrified of me and ran. I had to go to work but left a dish of food on the little pathway into the wood where he'd run and saw him eating it all up before I left. I called around to a few places and am borrowing a live trap from someone at work and will try to catch him this weekend. I've also already called my vet and there is a space available for him in their adoption program!
So wish me luck!
Cover the cage with a large towel or old blanket.. makes it darker & more like a hiding spot which tends to catch them quicker... and using smelly canned food is a good enticer..
We rent out live traps everyday at work.. those are the tips we give and the people usually return later the same day or the next morning with the cat.
I have a zine that provides tips on how to trap feral cats. I'll try to summarise some of the main points:
Bridget - all the best luck to you, and to the poor little guy. I hope you can catch him, and he/she finds a loving home soon.
Banshee, I'm so glad you're doing this! I've had luck in the past making friends with wild cats, I don't know why, little kids don't like me much! Any chance you can keep him? Just reading you saying he was crying like his heart was breaking makes me want to cry. I hope he can find a good patient home, I'm sure he'll come around in no time!
Thank you everyone for the feedback. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.
Well, I couldn't have turned that into more of a disaster if I'd tried. I have read in the past instructions on trapping feral animals, but all of that went out the window and I'm sure I must've done every single wrong thing I could've done. I feel a fool telling everyone, but I think it'll make a good 'how NOT to trap a feral cat' guide for everyone.
First of all, I found out there are two kittens instead of one. So I set the trap but of course when both kittens went in, it didn't close! (Lesson #1 - test trap before using). I ended up having to tie a piece of yarn to the mechanism and then back off. About three hours later I had one kitten. When I saw them going in, I pulled the string. But the second kitten got away. So of course what do I do? Take the first kitten up to the spare room I had prepared for him and let him out. (Lesson #2 - Never let a feral cat loose in your house). It was only then I discovered that the kitten is insane. Absolutely, positively wall-climbing insane. A ball of hissing spitting projectile through the air screeching insanity. Either that or just very, very frightened. I can't understand why he would be so wild - he's only two months old at the most. So I left him with soft lighting, food, water, a litterbox, a stuffed animal and a carrier for a safe place, as well as the dark cavern that is under the bed. Then I went down to try to catch the second kitten and he was there, crying his heart out. Of course he was crying, because the big stupid woman took his buddy away (Lesson #3 - Seriously consider trying to trap two kittens at same time, instead of one at a time). Within a half-hour he went back in the trap but the yarn had gotten twisted and the trap didn't shut immediately, giving him time to escape! (Lesson #4 - Ensure trap is reset properly). By this time I'm absolutely freezing so I get a neighbour to watch the trap so I can run up and get more layers. So from 11 to 3:00 a.m. I sit out there, wearing a hoodie, fall jacket and winter coat (of course it had to be the coldest freakin' night of the summer!), waiting patiently for the second kitten, pretty well in despair that instead of achieving my original goal - saving two kittens - I'd succeeded only in separating two siblings and making their lives miserable. The kitten hooked up with his mother and they both came back, eventually, and hung out very close to me for about an hour. I was sitting pretty close to them, but the kitten didn't go back into the trap far enough for me to pull the yarn. At 3:00 they left me so I packed up and came upstairs.
I don't worry about the kitten that's still outside, cos he's with his mother and he stopped crying when she came along. I'm planning to go out in a few hours again to try to catch him. I'll stay out there until I do. I'm worried about the poor little love who is at this very moment stuck to the wall behind the bed in the spare room, not moving. He's been torn from his family and held in a strange room, with a frightening human coming in and filling up his food dish periodically.
On the plus side, he is eating all his wet food and I know it's natural for him to be scared. His whole world has been turned upside down. That's a natural reaction for outdoor kittens to have when they're taken from the only world they've ever known. When I brought Aoife home from a work colleague's house, she hid behind the toilet for the better part of a day. I just left her alone and eventually she came out, ready to be friends. But she was never insane like this kitten was when I released him. I guess what worries me is that I'd hoped the two of them would have each other to make the transition easier. Instead, he has to spend the night alone, without his brother, in a strange place If all goes well tomorrow, I should have his brother and they'll be reunited, but I worry the damage this first night's trauma will do to him. And I wonder how the heck I'm ever going to get them into a carrier to take to the vet I've got a call in to a woman who works with feral cats, so hopefully she will call me back and we can go from there.
I just feel that I've done everything wrong and made a complete balls of it Or maybe I'm being unrealistic in thinking I could trap both of them at the same time. Or maybe I'm just exhausted from lack of sleep and should go to bed for a few hours.
AWw Banshee you are doing a good thing. Im sorry it didnt go as originally planned but things Im sure will end up working out. My heart goes out to the kitten who is scared but knowing he WILL have a future ahead of him thanks to your patience puts me well at ease and happy hes where he is right now.
Best wishes for feral kitten number two.
So are you going to trap the mother too?
I would love to trap the mother, as well. I need to get the other kitten first, though, because right now at least he has his mother and if I trapped her first, the kitten would truly be alone out there. I think if I could get all three they may be more relaxed about it all.
At this point taking them to the vet isn't an option. If these kittens are feral, my vet warned that if they can't handle them to do leukemia test, needles, etc. they may be deemed unadoptable and will likely be euthanized. I put a call in yesterday to a lady who "tames" feral cats. Unfortunately there are no available spots but I can put them on a waiting list. Until then I could work with them myself.
Right now after doing reading I'm of two minds as to whether I should leave the kitten at large in the room or should try to entice him into a large carrier in which he'll feel more secure and could stay there for a couple of days. The room may be too big and frightening, although he is exploring - I can hear him moving about from time to time. I really should have read up on this more before diving in, but his wildness really took me by surprise. Isobel was so tame in comparison but I think she was a couple of weeks younger when I found her.
I think the idea of confining him a little more in a big carrier might be a good idea. At least you could get your room back! Plus you would be able to have closer contact with him on a frequent basis, and this might help tame him a little until you can comfortably take him to the vet. Good luck, and let me know how you make out.
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