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Am I checking the trap too often?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Just a quick question... I think maybe I'm being a little "obsessive" about checking my trap, lol. I've been going out to check it every half hour to an hour or so. I don't want anyone to have to stay in there too long, that's why I check it so much... but I think maybe that's why I'm not having any luck so far? Do you think maybe because they hear/see/smell me in there so often that they're not going to come out? I've only seen one of the cats today but I'm pretty sure the other two are under the office room in the barn where they've been hiding. I have a couple tiny pieces of fish in front of the trap, and then several more pieces inside and a couple pieces of hot dog. I also took away their dry food last night so they'll be hungry. I have the trap covered with two old jackets that were in the barn, and I put a bunch of hay on and around it to disguise it. I have two pieces of cardboard inside the trap, one with the food on it, and the other at the entrance so that they don't have to step on the wire. And the trap is right between their hiding place and where we keep their food. Any other suggestions for me? I've done this before, but the last two cats I've trapped went in pretty much right away.
post #2 of 25
Traps should never be left unattended, so you're not checking too often. Whenever I trap, I try to go to a spot just far enough away that I'm not in plain sight of the cats, but close enough to watch the trap constantly.

My own experience has been that if the cats don't go into the trap within 1/2hour to 45 minutes, they're probably not going to go in. Either they're not hungry enough, or there is something about the trap that's making them wary. I don't know what scents those two old jackets have on them - they could be discouraging the cats. If these cats have seen other cats get trapped, they know what you're up to. It will be harder, but not impossible to trap them if that's the case.

Keep us updated - good luck!
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
I just went outside, and happened to see the Siamese I'm trying to get. He was outside sunning himself... we've got AMAZING weather today, sunny and high 60s... I watched him as he went into the barn, ate the piece of fish that was right next to the trap... but didn't go in the trap. He didn't seem bothered by it though, just wandered off to go back to his sunny spot. He let me walk pretty much right up to him, but wouldn't let me touch him. I got close enough to confirm that he is indeed a "he". I moved the trap closer to where he's going in and out of the barn, since he wasn't under that room where I thought he was. And where it is, I can go sit on a bale of hay completely out of view and watch him. BUT I really don't think he's going to go in it right now, since he's enjoying his sunny spot so much. Evening is usually when I set food out for them, so he'll probably want to come out more this evening and hopefully I'll get him then. There's still no dry food out, so I assume when he gets hungry he'll want that fish. And I did remove those jackets and just covered it in hay.
post #4 of 25
It's a good sign the Siamese ate near the trap - at least that shows you the trap isn't scaring him.

Is it possible to leave the trap where it is with the door secured (with heavy string or a bungee cord) in the opened position? If so, do that, and just feed near the trap for a couple of days. If the cats accept eating near it, gradually move the food closer to the trap, until the plate is at the open door. When the cats are comfortable with this, start to move the plate into the trap - you get the idea!

Try to stick with one spot for the trap - moving it around will only make the cats more wary of it.

Once you've got these kitties spay/neutered, are you planning to return them to where they are now?
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Somehow, someone managed to trip the trap.. twice, but not get caught. So no kitties yet. To answer your question, after they are vetted, the Siamese will likely move into the house to be a member of the family... and possibly the little black one that I'm trying to get. Any others that are caught will be returned to the barn after they're vetted to live with the three other barn cats.
post #6 of 25
When I helped neighbor trap she had put a plate of food in the trap. food was all gone but didnt get tripped cause the plate wedged inside the trip plate. after just dumping some tuna on the ground and putting trap on top of that we got most of the cats. she had gotten all the cats into the garage and was able to leave the trap the enitre night-it was 2 mothers and their babies so no real risk. is it possible they are easily acessing food-either by hunting or by otehr ppl/garbage? good luck!
post #7 of 25
No, you should keep an eye on it at all times and check it A MINIMUM of every 30 minutes

Good luck catching kitty!
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Still no luck. Checking the trap every 30-45 minutes, luckily it's been nice outside and I've been able to stay out there and just keep an eye on it from where I am. I reset it every morning. I've tried everything I can think of... I've had it in three different locations, all within the "path" the cats take daily. I've used dry cat food, fish, hot dogs and KFC chicken, with no luck. I have taken their dry food away, thinking that they'll need to be hungry to go in the trap, but that hasn't worked either. I've tried covering the trap in hay, and I've tried just keeping it uncovered. Is there anything else I can try? I don't want to give up, I know at least two of the new cats are tomcats and one is a female... and I don't really want the female to get pregnant.
post #9 of 25
The other thing we got told to try for hard to trap cats was to tie a toy mousie in the trap so it hung just above the food. The "expert" said cats who may not be too motivated often get curious about the toy and go in to check it out.

I haven't done that, so I'm not sure if it works, but maybe it's worth giving it a go?
post #10 of 25
You can also remove the food from the trap and hang a piece of really smelly herring or the KFC. Then you've combined the hanging concept with the enticing food. That's how Renae (lotsocats) used to entice the more difficult kitties into the trap.

And when we're trapping, the only food we put out is food in the trap. We get them used to being fed at the same time (by putting out food and picking it up an hour later) in the same place every day for like a week, and then we put the trap there. You can try removing the trap, putting the food out in that spot, and leave it out only for like an hour or two. Get them on a schedule - like before work or after work (or both!). Then put the trap out instead of the food. When you trap a kitty, do it again. No trap for a few days - food on a schedule - then trap is out (with food in it) instead of food.

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Just thought I'd update... I haven't had the trap set since Sunday since I caught the stray tom cat. I left it, unset, and partially covered in hay near their food. I picked up some sardines or salmon or something at the grocery store and I'm going to try that. I haven't seen the one tom in a few days, but have still seen the big Siamese. One other thing is that the little black kitty has been staying under that room in the barn, coming out to eat but quickly running back under there. I think she might have babies under there. It's kind of a difficult place to get to, but I can get under there and look if I don't mind getting dirty and getting crawled on by all kinds of bugs... hmm, maybe b/f should do it .
I want to find out though, and if she does have babies I'll bring them all in and spay her once the babies are weaned.
It's rainy today so the big male won't be out sunning himself, so maybe he'll be hungry! Hopefully I'll have good news to report later today!
post #12 of 25
How'd it go? Sending lots of good luck vibes!


post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
No luck yet. I did end up crawling under that room and didn't see the black cat, and didn't find any kittens. I set the trap yesterday morning with the sardines... I poured a trail of the juice on the ground and then put the rest of it in the back of the trap. I sat and watched it for about 2 hours and then went inside and just checked on it every half hour. I went out to check it yesterday evening and the Siamese was sniffing the juice and sitting right in front of the trap... he seemed interested but didn't go in . He will let me approach him, and can get literally right up next to him but he won't let me touch him. I think he may have some vision problems, I see him bump into things occasionally and he always walks slowly and cautiously. The weather got really cold again... lots of sleet and rain too, so I didn't go out to reset the trap today. I'll set it this evening for awhile when I go out and again tomorrow. I'm a little disappointed that I'm not getting him... I'm starting to think he'll never go in the trap.
post #14 of 25
You might want to try using potting soil to cover the bottom of the trap. It'll make it "easier" for kitty to want to walk in there. And then it just lifts up right through it.

Good luck - and hope the weather improves!

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely give it a try whenever I reset the trap.
post #16 of 25
I also put my traps out at dusk when the kitties come out and seem to be most active in searching for food.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
That's normally when these kitties come out too. We've been feeding them when we feed the horses... which is around 7 p.m. So they come out to eat around then. But I do see the big Siamese out during the day sunning himself on a big junk pile that used to be an old camper and he wanders around outside during the day. So I've been setting the trap at around 10 a.m. and checking it throughout the day and then if no one has been caught I close it around 10 or 11 p.m. for the night (sometimes later if I'm going to be up late anyway) so if someone does go in it they're not sitting in there all night. I set it for a few hours this evening and no luck yet. I'm about to go out and check again and probably close it for the night if no one is in it yet. I really hope to have some good news soon!
And here's a picture of the Siamese that I took with my phone a few days ago. It's not a great pic, but if I ever catch him I'll post better pictures.

post #18 of 25
Wow, that Siamese is some handsome boy!

The suspected vision problem is probably making you even more anxious to trap him. I know I would be worried about him too.

Just be consistent and very, very patient! Leave the trap in one place (which it sounds like you're doing). Feed only at or near the trap - nowhere else. The cats need to learn that trap = food.
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Still haven't caught the Siamese... in fact, we haven't seen him around for a few days. I'm afraid something may have happened to him, we live on a farm in a very rural area and he's ALWAYS here, he has never wandered off... there's really no where for him to go. Fingers are crossed that he's ok. I'm won't be able to set the trap tomorrow because I'll be gone all day, but I'll set it again Tuesday.
post #20 of 25
Crossing my fingers too for the Siamese boy. Hope he's ok.

Have you looked around for him by the junk pile he likes to sit on? Just thinking that if he's ill or hurt he might have holed up somewhere. When one of my ferals had a fight with a raccoon and was injured, he took refuge in an old garage he had previously used as shelter before I got him his own little house/shelter.
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have looked for him there. He hasn't been laying out sunning himself, and he is no where under or in the pile. I haven't looked for him in or under the room in the barn... I'll check there today.
post #22 of 25
I was hoping for good news about the Siamese boy, so I'm sorry you haven't seen him yet.
If you have any other small outbuildings/sheds, etc., I would check those too. Barrels, crates, boxes - anything he could crawl into or under.
post #23 of 25
Oh - what sad news! I'm sending positive "find the siamese" kitty vibes!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well, still no luck finding the big kitty. I didn't want to just keep calling him "the Siamese" so I've been calling him Marley. I had the trap set all day yesterday and didn't catch anything, which really didn't surprise me. I've looked just about everywhere I can think to look for Marley.... under the room and in the room in the barn, on and around and under his junk pile, the two sheds, under and in all the cars (we have something like 20 cars out here, lol). There are only two places left to look... one is the small, old, run down barn in the back of the property and the other is in the storage trailer. The trailer is mostly solid but we have found out that mice are getting up in there through a hole under the trailer, so maybe if the mice can then Marley can (I personally haven't seen the hole or it's size, my boyfriend just said it's there). The old barn will be easy to look in, but unfortunately the trailer might take a while. When we got this new house, we basically emptied two entire houses into this storage trailer (and another trailer) and haven't even touched this one yet. So it's a 40 ft. trailer packed nearly floor to ceiling with stuff and it will be difficult to look everywhere.
post #25 of 25
Still sending those good luck vibes! (Only this time it's good luck finding Marley!)

I know the heartbreak of having ferals not return. I really hope that isn't the case here.

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