How do I transfer feral mama from trap to nesting crate (for foster) and from crate to trap (for spay)?

ljfinneran

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Hi friends!

One of my neighbors has fed the cats in our community for years. She started doing TNR last summer with limited success.

Meanwhile, one pregnant mom just had her 3rd litter of kittens, this time in the bushes next to our house!

Those kittens should be about 2 weeks old this weekend. I've talked with our local TNR organization about borrowing a trap, and I plan to use the kittens as bait to trap the mom. I think they will help me get low-cost spay/neuter services for mom and kittens when they are old enough.

I just watched The Kitten Lady's video on how to foster a feral mama and her kittens, so I'm trying to get set up to foster in a spare room - with an XL wire dog crate (doors on the side and the end), cardboard box, baby blankets, litter box, food/water dishes, and sheet or towel to cover the crate. All good so far.

Here's what I can't figure out from the Kitten Lady video:

1. At the beginning of foster, how do I safely transfer feral mama from the trap into the nesting crate?

2. At the end of foster, how do I safely transfer feral mama from the nesting crate into the trap so I can send her to get spayed? (I'm assuming they will require her to be in a trap because she's feral.)


Thanks in advance!
 

DeesCats

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I've never done this procedure with a mama cat but I've done it with a couple of ferals.

For one cat, with the covered XL dog crate, the cat just ran out of the trap into the crate.

The other feral I used plastic green garden fencing cut and zip tied to the crate door opening, cut an opening slightly larger than the trap door, inserted trap, opened trap door, cat ran into crate, removed trap, closed crate door, remove zip ties and fencing.

I used a hard sided cat carrier inside the XL dog crate so the cat would feel safe. This would allow me to safely close the cat carrier from outside the XL dog crate by using a long stick and then open crate door to latch the carrier closed so I could feed/water and clean litter box. I used Feral cat set up long term procedure and it worked well for me, pictures helped describe the procedure.

You may not have this issue with the mama because once she hears her kittens already in the XL crate, she may go in willingly. I'd rather be safe then sorry though taking some extra steps so she doesn't get loose in the room and you don't get injured in any way.

As for your 2nd question, I can't help as I've never tried to get them back in the trap.
 

fionasmom

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(I'm assuming they will require her to be in a trap because she's feral.)
They may, but find out if that is the case before you stress yourself out. Sometimes the trap is required for some groups because they limit their work or budget to ferals and the use of a trap confirms that the cat is probably feral or stray. The group already knows your situation and may accept her in a crate.
 

silent meowlook

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With the dog crate, make sure it has small spaces between the bars and that te kittens don’t get their heads stuck through the bars.
What is your plan with this cat and kittens? Do you have any of them yet?
 

Norachan

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At the end of foster, how do I safely transfer feral mama from the nesting crate into the trap so I can send her to get spayed?
Will your crate fit into your car? If you are really unsure about moving her, weigh the crate with the nesting box inside it and make a note of that weight. Take her to the vet in the crate. They will need to know her body weight before they can give her any anesthetic, but they will be able to weigh the crate and work out how much she needs without removing her from the crate.

If your crate is too big to move, make sure your trap door lines up perfectly with your crate door. You may have to cut some hardboard to size to make sure there are no gaps around the edge of the door that she can squeeze through. It's easier to do this if you have the kind of trap with the door that slides down. Some traps have a door on a hinge, so you need to move the trap away from the crate door to give yourself room to shut the trap. If you have that kind of trap get something you can slide between the crate and the trap door to close the cat in the trap before you move it to close the door properly. I've used a metal tray, but a thin piece of hardboard works fine too.

Most cats will come out quite willingly. You may have to wait a while or bait the trap with something tasty, but they will move. She's not supposed to eat before she's spayed, so skip breakfast that morning so she's hungry and put a tiny amount of something smelly in the trap.

I recommend you do a couple of practice runs now, before you have the cat and her kittens inside your house. These things never go as planned, so practice a few times first in case the doors don't line up or close the way you thought they would.

Good luck!
 

silent meowlook

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She may be talking about some of the TNR places. Many of those will only accept the cat in a trap. No carriers, cages or anything but the humane trap. The ones I have encountered are very strict about this.
 

Kwik

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The organization you are working with should have transfer cages- transfer cages are great for moving caged or trapped kitties from cage to cage,crate to cage or into a carrier- transfer cages have guillotine doors ,line up ,tap behind them and they transfer easily ....

Most Vets offices will take ferals in carriers with a top loading door as well,it's even easier to remove a feral in a top loader than a trap( if they are familiar with handling ferals)

I'm not sure why you want to use a crate for Mama w/litter but if you can cover insides with cardboard it would be much safer for the kittens or a welded wire Porta kennel that has very small openings a kitten can't get stuck in.....if the crate has 2inch spaces sound like a possible accident waiting to happen

There's so many varieties of portable playpens and kennels that you can set up much more easily and have better access yourself than a crate imo- welded wire with only one inch spacing- ferals are very threatened by people face on reaching than from behind and over them- you might want to consider?
 
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ljfinneran

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With the dog crate, make sure it has small spaces between the bars and that te kittens don’t get their heads stuck through the bars.
What is your plan with this cat and kittens? Do you have any of them yet?
Thanks for the suggestion about bar spacing. I will keep that in mind.

I haven't trapped yet - planning for early next week.

My plan is to foster mama and kittens in my home until the kittens are big enough to get fixed, then get both mama and kittens spayed and neutered. I plan to socialize the kittens and adopt them out after spay/neuter, but mama is feral and can go back outside after being fixed.
 
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ljfinneran

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I'm not sure why you want to use a crate for Mama w/litter but if you can cover insides with cardboard it would be much safer for the kittens or a welded wire Porta kennel that has very small openings a kitten can't get stuck in.....if the crate has 2inch spaces sound like a possible accident waiting to happen

There's so many varieties of portable playpens and kennels that you can set up much more easily and have better access yourself than a crate imo- welded wire with only one inch spacing- ferals are very threatened by people face on reaching than from behind and over them- you might want to consider?
The TNR organization recommended "The Kitten Lady" who has a video on how to foster a feral mama with kittens, where she uses an XL wire dog crate ().

The crate has a plastic pan at the bottom and seems like it would be easy to clean. I am looking at 2-door models where I could open a door on the end or on the side.

But I am open to suggestion for portable playpens or kennels - which ones do you use? And how do you keep them from getting permanently soiled with kitten urine/poo?

Thanks!
 

silent meowlook

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Hi. This will be tough. Is the mother cat truly feral? How close can you get to her outside. The issues are going to be trapping mom and getting all the kittens. The kids tens can get hurt in if they are near the trap door when it closes. The crate which would be okay for an adult, will hurt the kittens legs if a leg goes through one of the openings. I’m not saying it can’t be done. Just some things to think about.
 

Kwik

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The TNR organization recommended "The Kitten Lady" who has a video on how to foster a feral mama with kittens, where she uses an XL wire dog crate ().

The crate has a plastic pan at the bottom and seems like it would be easy to clean. I am looking at 2-door models where I could open a door on the end or on the side.

But I am open to suggestion for portable playpens or kennels - which ones do you use? And how do you keep them from getting permanently soiled with kitten urine/poo?

Thanks!
I have an associate who specifically fosters litters- she fosters Mama's before they birth,ferals with babies and orphans as well- she loves using baby pools for the safe space and says nothing beats plastic carrier with no door and top loading door for the den.... everyone has their own preferences for what works for them and the space they have to work with but the number one priority is to provide the safest environment to avoid accidental injuries - especially for those little ones

Personally I've been using portable kennel panels for decades because they are 4'high plus I have 2'high panels if I want a higher pen,but with kittens I've always lined them with cardboard and urine pads over a plastic tarp....I also used large plastic carriers as a den - nowadays there are so many varieties of Porta pens avsilable and very inexpensive,safe ,easy to clean to choose from


Access from above is always much easier than reaching in ,especially working with ferals,semi ferals or any timid,frightened kitties.....

You have to set up your home however it works for you in a quiet ,not busy area of your home so we can offer suggestions for you to consider,no matter what you choose keep in mind those little heads,tiny arms n legs and where they can get into trouble and get hurt
 
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ljfinneran

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Hi. This will be tough. Is the mother cat truly feral? How close can you get to her outside. The issues are going to be trapping mom and getting all the kittens. The kids tens can get hurt in if they are near the trap door when it closes. The crate which would be okay for an adult, will hurt the kittens legs if a leg goes through one of the openings. I’m not saying it can’t be done. Just some things to think about.
Mom won't let me closer than about 10 feet at the very very closest. She is definitely feral.

When mom is away from the kittens (eating), I will scoop them out of their current nest in the bushes and put them in a hard-sided cat carrier. (I think they will be just over 2 weeks old, so not yet coordinated enough to run away from me yet!)

It seems to be common practice to place the carrier with kittens at the closed end of the trap, then put a blanket over carrier + trap, to lure the mom to go into the trap. So the kittens won't be in the trap and won't be in danger.

I can rig up bumpers so the kittens won't touch the wire sides of the crate. Thanks for the suggestion!
 
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ljfinneran

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I have an associate who specifically fosters litters- she fosters Mama's before they birth,ferals with babies and orphans as well- she loves using baby pools for the safe space and says nothing beats plastic carrier with no door and top loading door for the den.... everyone has their own preferences for what works for them and the space they have to work with but the number one priority is to provide the safest environment to avoid accidental injuries - especially for those little ones

Personally I've been using portable kennel panels for decades because they are 4'high plus I have 2'high panels if I want a higher pen,but with kittens I've always lined them with cardboard and urine pads over a plastic tarp....I also used large plastic carriers as a den - nowadays there are so many varieties of Porta pens avsilable and very inexpensive,safe ,easy to clean to choose from

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Access from above is always much easier than reaching in ,especially working with ferals,semi ferals or any timid,frightened kitties.....

You have to set up your home however it works for you in a quiet ,not busy area of your home so we can offer suggestions for you to consider,no matter what you choose keep in mind those little heads,tiny arms n legs and where they can get into trouble and get hurt
Thanks so much! This gave me a lot of good ideas.
 

Kwik

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Thanks so much! This gave me a lot of good ideas.
Oh great- always good getting different ideas ,everyone has something to offer and then we find our own little favorite things - a little from here,little from there and Voila!:salam:
 

Kwik

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BTW
"Common practice to place the carrier with kittens at the closed end of the trap, then put a blanket over carrier + trap, to lure the mom to go into the trap. So the kittens won't be in the trap and won't be in danger."

EXACTLY👍❤
 
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