Need suggestions from experienced feral cat trappers!

alana0011

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I've posted about this before, but I thought I'd post in this forum because I'm desperate for help.
I have three cats who are at my house, and I go over three times a day. I've had to move in with my mom. This arrangement has been going on for two months now. The cats are inside, and although two have always been a little skittish, they won't come near me for me to get them into crates. They need to go to the vet's and then they'll go to new homes. (well, one is coming here with me)

I've tried getting them used to eating in crates, and I stay behind the crates waiting for them to come, but they won't eat with me sitting there. I've tried playing with them, and they do play, but when I make a move towards them, they run.

No-one from the vet's office is willing to help even though I've offered money for the job. Now I'm considering buying traps, but I wonder if they will get freaked out if one goes in and starts crying? If I do this, I plan on covering the traps.
 

shadowsrescue

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It will be more difficult since you have 3 to catch. At this point I would definitely get a trap. You would need to be there to watch to see if one of the cats goes inside. I never like to leave traps unattended. Cats can hurt themselves if left too long unattended. That way you could immediately remove the cat in the trap and get it to where it needs to go. Next go back and get the other two. You may need to not feed them for 12 hours or so. This way they will be good and hungry. Get the stinkiest cat food you can find. I often use canned human tuna. Be sure to watch some videos on trapping and practice.

I have a neighbor whose mother needed to move in with her. She had 2 cats. One was very skittish and they could not get the cat. The cat lived at the old house for 3 months. They finally borrowed a trap from me, with held food for 12 hours and got some stinky tuna. They went outside and watched through a window. The cat went inside the trap after just 20 minutes.

You could also contact a rescue group in your area and ask them for help. Many groups have lots of experience trapping cats.
 
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alana0011

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It will be more difficult since you have 3 to catch. At this point I would definitely get a trap. You would need to be there to watch to see if one of the cats goes inside. I never like to leave traps unattended. Cats can hurt themselves if left too long unattended. That way you could immediately remove the cat in the trap and get it to where it needs to go. Next go back and get the other two. You may need to not feed them for 12 hours or so. This way they will be good and hungry. Get the stinkiest cat food you can find. I often use canned human tuna. Be sure to watch some videos on trapping and practice.

I have a neighbor whose mother needed to move in with her. She had 2 cats. One was very skittish and they could not get the cat. The cat lived at the old house for 3 months. They finally borrowed a trap from me, with held food for 12 hours and got some stinky tuna. They went outside and watched through a window. The cat went inside the trap after just 20 minutes.

You could also contact a rescue group in your area and ask them for help. Many groups have lots of experience trapping cats.
I have some hope now!! Thank you. I think I will try the traps now after hearing from you. I will be there watching for them to get in.
 

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I applaud your dedication to both your mom and your cats, My 2 mottos for trapping are "more important than the will to win is having the will to prepare enough to win" and "it's a long hike for short slide" . My best successes are more time consuming but can help once cats become trap-savvy, I use a fairly large trap and initially, I prop the gate(s) open to prevent the trip plate closing the trap. I use old tent poles, sturdy sticks, old curtain rods - whatever fits through the openings. I place sturdy paper over the trap floor to cover the wires, making sure the paper is not heavy enough to interwith the trip plate. I feed the cats inside the neutralized trap until they feel comfortable going in and out. I cover the trap partially with a towel or cover so cats get used to the sight; the covering will help disguise when the cat is finally trapped (other cats learn by observation as well as personal experience On trap day, I place the trap on top of a blanket or sheet (this will be used to wrap up the trap immediately after the cat is trapped) and remove the props from the gate. Because I am usually trapping in colonies with nursing moms and/ or sick kitties, I often don't have the luxury of withholding food but KFC is a popular "currency" that doesn't smell up the car like fishy products do (if you can carry the trap in a pickup bed with camper shell; sardines, as suggested earlier, often work best/fastest, especially during time constraints such as an injured cat in a high risk situation). When a cat is trapped, I rush to completely cover the trap so the kitty doesn't panic and the audience cats aren't as aware of what's going on.. After a successful trap, I return to dummy trapping until cats are once more comfortable going in and out.
Some people prefer to use the bottle and string method instead of relying on the trip plate. I highly recommend testing out different bottles of water, lengths of string, angles of string approach to see what works best. Testing needs to be done in a private area so cats don't become savvy from watching. You can also use a similar technique with a string on the door of a carrier.
Please keep us posted! Your experiences and this thread will help others searching for answers in similar situations :agree:
 
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alana0011

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I applaud your dedication to both your mom and your cats, My 2 mottos for trapping are "more important than the will to win is having the will to prepare enough to win" and "it's a long hike for short slide" . My best successes are more time consuming but can help once cats become trap-savvy, I use a fairly large trap and initially, I prop the gate(s) open to prevent the trip plate closing the trap. I use old tent poles, sturdy sticks, old curtain rods - whatever fits through the openings. I place sturdy paper over the trap floor to cover the wires, making sure the paper is not heavy enough to interwith the trip plate. I feed the cats inside the neutralized trap until they feel comfortable going in and out. I cover the trap partially with a towel or cover so cats get used to the sight; the covering will help disguise when the cat is finally trapped (other cats learn by observation as well as personal experience On trap day, I place the trap on top of a blanket or sheet (this will be used to wrap up the trap immediately after the cat is trapped) and remove the props from the gate. Because I am usually trapping in colonies with nursing moms and/ or sick kitties, I often don't have the luxury of withholding food but KFC is a popular "currency" that doesn't smell up the car like fishy products do (if you can carry the trap in a pickup bed with camper shell; sardines, as suggested earlier, often work best/fastest, especially during time constraints such as an injured cat in a high risk situation). When a cat is trapped, I rush to completely cover the trap so the kitty doesn't panic and the audience cats aren't as aware of what's going on.. After a successful trap, I return to dummy trapping until cats are once more comfortable going in and out.
Some people prefer to use the bottle and string method instead of relying on the trip plate. I highly recommend testing out different bottles of water, lengths of string, angles of string approach to see what works best. Testing needs to be done in a private area so cats don't become savvy from watching. You can also use a similar technique with a string on the door of a carrier.
Please keep us posted! Your experiences and this thread will help others searching for answers in similar situations :agree:
Thank you for this feedback! Right now, they are going in crates to eat, so they're used to going inside something. I'm going to get the traps next week and try that. It has to work!!! I hate to panic, but I feel like it. You do great work with the feral colonies. I used to help a group here with that. It's work that is so important, and I love the ferals. I have two semi-ferals that are way tamer than the ones in this house right now!
 

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Right now, they are going in crates to eat...
Are these the kind of crate that has a wire mesh door on the front?

Can you figure out a way to tie a piece of stout string to the door so you can pull it shut from a distance?

Or just use a large, plastic storage tub, turned upside down. Prop one end up with a ruler or a short, sawed-off piece of a broomstick. Tie a string to the stick, put some food under the box. Wait for the cat to go in, pull the string and down comes the box.

In either case, you pull the string to close the trap then quickly go over to either lock the door or sit on the top of the box.

I've done something like this before. Yeah, it's kinda' the redneck way to do it but, WTH? I'm from Pennsyltucky. That's how we Pennsyltucky boys roll, sometimes. ;) ;) ;)
 
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alana0011

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Are these the kind of crate that has a wire mesh door on the front?

Can you figure out a way to tie a piece of stout string to the door so you can pull it shut from a distance?

Or just use a large, plastic storage tub, turned upside down. Prop one end up with a ruler or a short, sawed-off piece of a broomstick. Tie a string to the stick, put some food under the box. Wait for the cat to go in, pull the string and down comes the box.

In either case, you pull the string to close the trap then quickly go over to either lock the door or sit on the top of the box.

I've done something like this before. Yeah, it's kinda' the redneck way to do it but, WTH? I'm from Pennsyltucky. That's how we Pennsyltucky boys roll, sometimes. ;) ;) ;)
That could work, but I'd have to transport the cats into crates to take them to the vet's, and if I tried the string method, I'd have to sit behind the crate to close it when they went in, and then I'd have to quickly close the door, and they would get out. The crates I mentioned are just regular cat crates. I think the only way to get them now is to trap them.
 

Caspers Human

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You could just use the plastic tubs. Use the large size like people store clothes and stuff in.

Trap the cat, sit on the box then carefully slide the lid underneath. Flip the box upright and duct tape the lid shut so that the cat can't escape. Pre-drill some holes in the lid so the cat can get enough air.

Pre-packaged cats, all ready to transport to the vet! ;) ;) ;)

Leave the boxes set up for a while and let them eat inside before trapping. That way, they won't be trap shy.

Take the cats to the vet inside their boxes. When you get there, after you are done with your business, you can try to put them back in the original cat carrier crates for the ride home. The plastic tubs will stack when they are empty. You can just put them in the trunk of the car.
 

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I'm laughing at Pennysltucky, Caspers Human! :D

Another addition for the toolbox is a set of heavy-ish gloves. If you have to handle a trap or shut a cage door with a scared cat inside, the gloves will save your fingers from being pierced by claws. I trapped an entire litter of baby ferals by using a big carrier and feeding them inside. When the last one went into the cage, I went to quietly shut the door. The entire litter hit the door and I almost lost because their claws hit my hands and I HAD to get it latched. Covering it immediately with a large towel or blanket is a huge help, it seems to calm them down.
 

Caspers Human

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Pennsyltucky: Any place in PA that's not Pittsburgh, Harrisburg or Philly.

Similar to Upstate New York: Any place in the state of NY that's not NYC is considered "Upstate."

People from Pittsburgh, we call "Muperes." That's because, when you ask them where they're from, they say, "M'up 'ere from Pittsburgh." ;)

Leather gloves? Yup! In Pennsyltucky, they issue those at birth, along with a Carhartt jacket, briar pants and a pair of rubber boots.
;) ;) ;)

I guess you could say I live in "Upstate-Pennsyltucky!" ;) ;) ;)
 
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Antonio65

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I've tried getting them used to eating in crates, and I stay behind the crates waiting for them to come, but they won't eat with me sitting there. I've tried playing with them, and they do play, but when I make a move towards them, they run.

No-one from the vet's office is willing to help even though I've offered money for the job. Now I'm considering buying traps, but I wonder if they will get freaked out if one goes in and starts crying? If I do this, I plan on covering the traps.
One of the things that could possibly happen is that once you catch the first cat, the other two cats might get so smart that they won't go into the trap anymore, because they saw what happened to their friend.
It doesn't happen all the times, but it can happen.
 
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Caspers Human

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Yeah, I've heard people who trap muskrat and things say stuff like that.

One animal sees one of its mates get caught in a trap and the others will avoid that area.
That's why trappers have to move their traps all the time. They learn.
 

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Yeah, I've heard people who trap muskrat and things say stuff like that.

One animal sees one of its mates get caught in a trap and the others will avoid that area.
That's why trappers have to move their traps all the time. They learn.
When I had to trap and neuter a large colony, a few years back, this was the problem I had to face. As I was trapping more and more cats, the remaining ones were getting smarter and smarter.
As a matter of fact, you first trap the more naïve cats, the smartest ones just observe, and when they see and learn, they get smarter and smarter, and it gets exponentially harder to trap them.
It took me months to trap the last (and smartest) cat in the colony, she had seen too many of her friends go in there.
 
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alana0011

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The cats won't get in the traps. I'm crying. This is devastating. I have to sell my house and move the cats. I don't know what to do.
 

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Can you call a rescue group for help? They are experienced with trapping cats. Tell them your situation.
 

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How about using a blanket to snare the cats?

Put a blanket on the floor and just leave it there as if it is a new carpet. Ignore it for a while. The cats will get used to walking on it. After a while, put some food out, in the center of the blanket. Let them eat a couple of times. The cats won't think anything of it.

Then, when the cats are eating, quickly gather up the four corners of the blanket, scooping the cats up with it.

Cat in a bag! :D

This might be easier if you have a helper who can grab two corners while you grab the other two. Each of you pick up the blanket corners on cue then come together in the middle.

If you don't have a helper, tie some ropes to two of the corners. (Use a "sheet bend" knot.)
Lay the ends of the two ropes next to the two corners closest to you. When it's time to spring the trap, pull on the ropes. The blanket will fold over, on top of the cats. Quickly gather the corners and lift the whole thing up. Use the ropes to tie a knot, making an escape proof pouch.

This won't hurt the cats if you don't get too rough on them. If you play your cards right, you might even be able to catch all three in one go! :D

I actually did this, one time, long ago. I was living in my college apartment. I had to capture my former cat, Jerry, in order to take him to the vet. Jerry was born feral and he was brought inside, not long before I adopted him. He was super skittish and was already trap-shy because he had been trapped to bring him inside, only very recently.

I grabbed one corner of the blanket, threw it over Jerry, then grabbed the other three to close the trap.

Worked like a charm! ;) ;) ;)
 

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Quickly gather the corners and lift the whole thing up. Use the ropes to tie a knot, making an escape proof pouch.
This won't hurt the cats if you don't get too rough on them. If you play your cards right, you might even be able to catch all three in one go! :D

[...]

I grabbed one corner of the blanket, threw it over Jerry, then grabbed the other three to close the trap.
Worked like a charm! ;) ;) ;)
I personally think you were extremely lucky, because I don't think a human can move faster than a cat!
I tried something similar on a couple of occasions, and the cats would flee a split fraction of a second before I could close the net I was using.

Sometimes, even trap cages close too slowly and the cat runs away. It happened twice to me. The cats managed to leave the trap cage a hundredth of second before it would close.
 

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Have you tried putting catnip or silvervine in the trap? Maybe a favorite toy?
 
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alana0011

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Have you tried putting catnip or silvervine in the trap? Maybe a favorite toy?
I've tried catnip in and around the traps. I've had no luck yet-Day 2.
This morning I tried tuna and when I went back to the store they didn't have tuna in oil, so I got sardines. Well, that didn't work either. I'm still feeding them in crates after I'm finished trying to trap for the day. The only thing I can think of now is getting a group of people over with crates, and we chase them around until we get them. They have to get out, and I'm worried, but I haven't given up yet.
 
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