Need help trapping my indoor cat

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
I have 2 exclusively indoor cats that I adopted together when they were 6 months old. They are now almost 5 years old. I’m pretty sure they were born feral and they needed a lot of work. They still have their quirks but are pretty nice house cats and I love them immensely and am devoted to them.

Navi has gotten out twice before and we’ve been able to lure her back inside in the middle of the night with food within a few days. She’s out again and it’s been 8 days and the same trick hasn’t worked. I bought a wildlife camera and caught some videos of her at our back door where we’ve been keeping food. Last night my husband slept in the back room with the door open and some food inside but she didn’t come in. Again I have video of her at the back door (also raccoons and another cats).

I’m thinking it’s time to rent a humane trap. Only problem with that is she recently went to the vet and was mad for days about going in the carrier. So I’m not sure she’d go in the trap. And tips or suggestions? 389FB3A9-E8DB-41E7-B90B-2BA39E8FEFA9.jpeg I’m glad to see she’s still in the yard but I miss her and want her home!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
I meant to put this in cat behavior --- sorry! Can an admin move it if it's in the wrong place?

NEVERMIND - I see an admin move it here --- Thank you!
 

Willowy

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
29,752
Purraise
24,732
Location
South Dakota
New traps usually only cost about $30 (depending how fancy you want to get), so it might be worth it to buy your own, depending on what it costs to rent one. If so, keep the box and put the set trap in it, and put some cardboard on the bottom too. Kitties love boxes, so this works fairly often. If you rent one or buy one that's not sold in a box, you can get creative with cardboard and make a box for it.

Get the yummiest food, whatever her favorite is. Rotisserie chicken is usually popular, but you know her personal preferences. Don't put any food out the day you try to trap so she's good and hungry.

I hope she goes right in! Sending good trapping vibes :vibes:
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
Thank you. I didn't know the traps could be so inexpensive. Any suggestions on the best brand or size? Navi is a smaller cat - about 10 lbs.
 

Willowy

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
29,752
Purraise
24,732
Location
South Dakota
If you're not going to trap on a regular basis, no, brand doesn't matter. They're all designed to trap and hold raccoons and possums so they'll hold a cat too. Just get a regular raccoon size (usually 32" x 12" x 10").

This is what I have. They're very basic but adequate for occasional trapping. I have caught kittens/small cats in the smaller one but I recommend using the larger size for most cats.
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/countyline-quick-set-catch-release-live-animal-traps-2-pack?cm_vc=-10005
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
13,008
Purraise
16,210
Location
Nebraska, USA
I got mine at a farm supply store, Tractor Supply or Orscelns. It was on sale for 25.00. She obviously loves it outside, you might build her a pen leading from a window for easy access, or get one of those chicken coops.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
For a cat sized trap we can rent from the local feed store for $15/week or buy at home depot for $54. So we decided to rent. Will cover in cardboard and a blanket and use the smelliest food for bait. Also maybe put in one of her toys or a dirty article of clothing.

Any other tips? Thanks!
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
3,680
Purraise
5,853
Location
Los Angeles
My most successful bait for ferals has been Kentucky Fried Chicken. Without a doubt. Don't worry about the fact that it is not good for the cat. You aren't going to feed it more than once.

I agree that you need to retrap, especially if she did not come in for food and an open door.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
Update: Put out the trap by our back door where we had been leaving food. No sign of her on the surveillance camera last night. Two other neighborhood cats sniffed around but didn’t go in. Will keep trying.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
Update #2: Another night and she hasn’t shown up on the surveillance camera. Thinking of moving the trap away from the house. We had put it by the door where we had left out a food bowl she had eaten from. I’m thinking we should put the food bowl back and the trap farther away in the yard. I don’t want her to be afraid to come to the house.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
3,680
Purraise
5,853
Location
Los Angeles
Keep trying what you logically think will work. This is more common than you think and it takes a lot of persistence with these escapped cats.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
Keep trying what you logically think will work. This is more common than you think and it takes a lot of persistence with these escapped cats.
Thank you for the encouragement! I’m trying not to be discouraged. My plan is to give her every opportunity to come home and stay close. I haven’t seen her on the camera for two nights but I figure if she stayed close for a week she’s still around.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
3,680
Purraise
5,853
Location
Los Angeles
I have TNRed ferals who come regularly for food and shelter, for those who chose to use it. They are really "my" cats. Once in a while, one does not show up and I decide that this must have been the end only to have them show up looking just fine two weeks later.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
Navi finally showed up on the "kitty cam" last night --- along with all the other non-feral neighborhood cats. Don't people keep their cats in these days? Even when we had an indoor/outdoor cat he came in at night. She has yet to show herself to us otherwise. But I'm glad she's close by.

Anyway, I am heartened to "see" her again. We moved the trap away from the back door so as not to scare her away. So far nothing has been trapped in it. All the neighborhood cats are well fed and even on the camera, Navi didn't seem to go for the food (KFC+wet food) I left out. She may be getting food somewhere else, although having already eaten has never stopped her from wanting more. She has always been extremely food motivated.

The trap is a rental so we are going to keep it for a full week - which means 3 more nights. However, I'm thinking our best chance is getting her to come back inside at night through the open door. This is how she came back the last two times. My husband and I will take turns sleeping out back room with the door open - we can shut this room off from the rest of the house so Navi's brother doesn't get out. Otherwise I'm going to keep putting food outside for her too so she knows she can come "home" to eat. It's going on two weeks (the last times she was out was only 2-3 nights), but I'm not giving up hope she comes back inside.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
Update with some good news: Last night we had nearly 100 pictures and videos on the “kitty cam” of her eating food I left out by our back door! She looked inside a few times but is still gathering her courage to come in. I actually saw her through the glass at 2:30am and called her but she ran off. I need to be patient and let her come in on her own. Plan is to keep feeding her and letting her get comfortable and then slowly drawing her in. (The door will always be open for her).

Before this we hadn’t seen her a few nights and then Friday night we had caught a possum in the trap. Even though it wasn’t near the door I think she was afraid of the trap. So we took it back Saturday (it was a rental.) I think only people who have experience with feral cats can understand how fearful she is. I put out dry food and it took her nearly 2 hours to eat it all. First she’d grab a piece and run off and then she finally settled in to finish it. Feeling optimistic again but need to take it slow and gain her trust again. Thank you all for your support and advice!
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
3,680
Purraise
5,853
Location
Los Angeles
Keep on trying as you are starting to get results. I once had to get a semi feral back in the house after she escaped and had to allow her to use a door. Finally, it did work.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
Update and a thought - So I've seen consistently the past 3 nights on the "kitty cam" coming to eat at the back door. There is enticing food inside but so far she's only eaten from the bowl outside. Plan is to keep inching it closer to the door and then see if I can get her to continue to eat from it if I move it inside.

I can see from the video that she is really anxious and nervous. And she still hasn't shown herself during daylight. I certainly don't want to knock her out or do anything that would cause her to not be able to defend herself outside if she had to or get out of a bad situation. But is there any supplement I can put in the water or food that would mellow her out a bit?
 
Last edited:

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
3,680
Purraise
5,853
Location
Los Angeles
Others may have suggestions on this as I don't know much about supplements for mild sedation and what is safe for a cat. The problem with any sedation is that unless you can control where she goes it can become problematic, as you have said.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20

sarah430

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
213
Purraise
92
Location
Pacific Northwest
Another update and a question: I didn't see Navi on the "kitty cam" for two nights. Then last night she showed up again, but by the time she came to the food I'd left out, two racoons had already eaten the food. Makes me so sad/mad since I really want her to get in the habit of coming to the back door for food. We've seen neighborhood cats come to the food but most of them are so well fed they usually don't eat it or if they do just a few bites.

Is there any way to discourage the racoons? This is only the 2nd time they've come around to the food and the first time they actually ate any.
 
Top