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Trapping Troubles

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
A few days ago, I noticed a little grey kitten nosing around outside my kitchen window. I live in an urban neighborhood, and a lot of my neighbors have indoor/outdoor cats whom they do not collar. This makes it really difficult for me to determine if the cats I'm seeing are strays/ferals or pets, but I can generally figure it out by observing for awhile - their behavior, health, seeing if they go into houses, etc. I've gotten pretty good at making the call.

I went outside to see if the kitten would let me approach it. It took one look at me and bolted. It ran behind my house (right outside my bedroom window, incidentally) and was cowering in the overgrown shrubbery back there. I observed it from the window. The kitten is skinny as heck and was licking some garbage that was back there. I can't tell how old it is, but I estimate about 10 weeks, from its size. Possibly older, if it's malnourished. If it IS somebody's pet, they're clearly neglecting it; if it's not, then it's homeless. Either way, it could use my help.

I brought out a bowl of kitten food and a plate of finely-chopped tuna fish. It ran when it saw me (again), but I left the food in a fairly private spot and went back inside, hoping it would eat.

I've been putting out food since. The food is always gone, but I haven't been able to tell what's eating it. Nobody's ever there when I look out the window, and, as I said, there are lots of cats that roam the neighborhood. I also have a skunk-in-residence, who I suspect might be eating, also. I've seen the kitten again, but not eating, and it still won't let me approach.

I want to catch this poor baby. I really don't know how. The food invariably gets infested with bugs after a short while (I just put out dry trying to minimize it) because the location where I have to feed is really buggy and gross. I don't know if that's dangerous for the kit..? Also, I have no idea who I'm actually feeding, which makes it difficult.

Any suggestions would be really, really, really wonderful.
post #2 of 13
I put the food dish in a shallow pan of water. The bugs drown before they get to the food. With a kitten you could try water in a saucer with a lip then a bowl of food in the water. Another rescuer does this....you spray the ground with a bug spray (you can get animal safe spray) then put newspaper on top of the bug sprayed area then food dish on top of newspaper. That way food and kitten are protected from spray and the area is clear of bugs.

Another thought might be to put food in two places where you have seen the kitten. That way if some other animal is eating the food the kitten will have a chance at some also.

Next would be to borrow a trap if you don't have one and get the kitten to a vet and possibly a home. You are doing a great thing for this kitten. Keep trying.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimble View Post
I put the food dish in a shallow pan of water. The bugs drown before they get to the food. With a kitten you could try water in a saucer with a lip then a bowl of food in the water. Another rescuer does this....you spray the ground with a bug spray (you can get animal safe spray) then put newspaper on top of the bug sprayed area then food dish on top of newspaper. That way food and kitten are protected from spray and the area is clear of bugs.

Another thought might be to put food in two places where you have seen the kitten. That way if some other animal is eating the food the kitten will have a chance at some also.

Next would be to borrow a trap if you don't have one and get the kitten to a vet and possibly a home. You are doing a great thing for this kitten. Keep trying.
Thank you for the ideas for keeping the bugs away. Yesterday evening, about 6:30 or so, I finally saw kitty eating. She wolfed down the entire bowl in one sitting. I think there are other beings who come to eat at night, but at least I know the baby is getting some nourishment.

Today, I put out the bowl in a pie pan filled with water. It seemed to work somewhat with keeping away some of the bugs, but since they're mostly flying insects, I think I'm going to have to go with the bug spray idea. I'll stop and pick some up today and give it a go.

I also am borrowing a trap from my aunt today. She has an old one she's loaning me. I'm a little nervous about this, and I have some questions.

About how long should I continue the regular feeding before I attempt to trap? This kitty is scared to death of me, and I'm afraid to scare her away for good if something goes wrong. Should I try to camuflage the trap with some brush? Should I put it out but not set it at first?

This kitty has a home. I will either be keeping her if I catch her, or she'll be going to live with a good friend of mine in New Hampshire. I'm going to be bringing her to the vet and such as soon as I can grab her, keeping her separate from Lt. Pants.

I'll keep you updated.
post #4 of 13
Great that the kitten is eating. I will share what I have done. Another member, opilot, probably has more experience with kitten trapping. Some kittens don't weigh enough to throw the trip plate. On those that are hard to trap it is a good plan to leave the trap out so they get used to seeing it. Hard to say for how long before you set it, judgement call for you. Maybe a few days to a week. I put the trap in a place that is not easily seen by others. Then feed the kitten close to the trap. I leave the trap door open without setting it so you can gradually put food closer in the trap. You can use twine or some type of twist tie to secure the door open. Don't want it to accidentally fall on kitten. When you are ready to trap, undo the tied door and set the trap on a "hair trigger". (Just barely set the trip so it will go off easier) I have covered the trap with branches, sometimes a dark towel. Put newspaper or a piece of cardboard leading to the trip plate so it will not feel the wire floor of the trap. I have heard that some cats do better trapping when the end is not covered. They don't like not having an escape so if they can see out the end of a trap it may help. Good to have a feeding routine in the same place. You are giving this kitten the best gift in life....love and a chance to live without fear in a safe home. I wish you the best luck and hope others will contribute what they have experienced. Sometimes you have to try different things and see what will work for your situation. Hang in there!
post #5 of 13
My trap works but the cat I try to trap escapes.
Keep feeding the cat(inside the trap) until you get a routine going then don't feed once. Next day put the food in the trap and it will gladly go in and it will be trapped. Keep your eye on the trap.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I obtained the trap from my aunt yesterday evening. In my travels during the day, I didn't actually see the kitten, but a lot of the food was gone, and I'm reasonably confident she was around to eat.

I wanted to see who was eating and when, so I left the food bowl out overnight and put a flashlight by the window. Just as I suspected, Mr. Skunk was dining on it at night So from now on, I will be taking the food in before dark.

Today, about 15 minutes ago, I watched her chowing down from the window. She kept dipping her tiny little paw into the water surrounding the dish; it was adorable

I've put out a t-shirt of mine, nice and sweaty from the gym, under the food and water bowls, trying to get her to associate my smell with food, hoping it will make things easier between us She was sniffing it a bit while she was eating, so I guess that's a good sign.

I've wiped out the trap and tested it to make sure it works. I'm still debating my plan of action. I'm torn between leaving the trap out for awhile, unset (open? closed?) and letting her get used to it, or just going for it with one big hurrah. I have a hunch that she'd just walk right in, but I don't want to be wrong and scare her off for good with this giant (to her) metal thing.

I'm thinking I'll set the trap out near where I've been feeding her (it's in a good spot, nobody can really see it) and leave it there for awhile, unset with the door open - a couple days? Then set it one day when she gets comfortable with it. I am going to line the bottom with some newspaper and the t-shirt I've been sitting out.

Does this sound like a good plan? And should I use the food she's used to, or something stinkier?
post #7 of 13
You are doing an awesome job of planning. Such a fantastic thing you are doing. I do hope someone comes along with more experience to help out. Sometimes when it comes time you just do what you think is best.

If this is a young kitten, you may not need to skip a feeding to get it in the trap. It is hard on kittens to go without food. Judgement on your part. Stinky sardines or mackrel seem to work. I have had good luck with fried chicken (no bones). Tried to trap a dog once with barbeque as bait and I ended up with four feral cats, so sometimes we use that. Just leave a trail of tiny bits of the food going in to the back of the trap.

Two weeks ago we trapped 11 cats. They would have nothing to do with the stinky stuff and we were desperate to get them out. We used their regular food and got them with no problem. You just have to try what you think is best at the time and if that doesn't work, try something different.

You are doing great. Wishing you the best of luck. This baby will reward you in more ways than you know.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I've made my decision. Tomorrow is the big day. I'm just going to go for it; I have a feeling she'd just walk right in, so I'm going to see what happens. If it doesn't work, I'll take the trap away for a couple of days, keep the feeding routine going, and try again in a little while.

What are the odds that she'd come back if this doesn't work the first time? If I keep putting food out, she'll probably return, yes? Especially if I take the trap away? I guess there's no way to know for sure, but in peoples' experience, they'll come back eventually, even if the trap spooks them at first?

I'm taking a personal day from work tomorrow to get some supplies together, in case I actually get her (I keep calling it "she" and "her," just because she looks like a girl, but I honestly have no idea ), and to make sure I'm around if and when the trap goes off so I can take her in right away. I picked Tuesday because the vet is open late, so I may be able to get her in right away if I get her.

I could REALLY use some luck on my side, so... wish me luck and send those TCS vibes my way!!!!
post #9 of 13
Wishing you luck. Patience is your friend now. Take your time and wait her out.

She should continue to come around if you continue to put food out. Make sure she has enough to share with Mr Skunk.

Be prepared to release Mr Skunk from the trap. He could go in instead of the kitten. Cheering for the kitten!!!

Good luck to you.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, I got him! Those TCS vibes can't be beat! Thanks to everybody who was pulling for me and this little guy.

I was irritated with my neighbors all day for being extremely loud all afternoon and probably scaring kitty away, but they quieted down around 4, and 20 minutes later, I heard the trap! I went out to make sure I had the right animal, and there in the trap, fighting like a hellion, was my adorable little gray man.

I called the vet right away and they had an appointment at 5. I just opened the back of the trap and he ran right into the carrier. He's got a bad case of fleas, but seems otherwise okay. No ear mites, surprisingly. he was dewormed, FELV/FIv tested, first distemper, and frontlined. He purred for the vet (out of fear, probably) and has so far allowed himself to be handled without much fuss. He has a spot above one eye that may be ringworm, but vet's not sure, so we're just doing a lot of handwashing. Age estimated between 9-12 weeks; he weighs 2.5lbs.

Right now he's in a huge dog crate in the bathroom with a litterbox, food, and water. Hasn't eaten a lick yet, but i'm hoping he will soon. No name yet. i'll work on pictures maybe tomorrow.

It was way easier than I thought; thanks for all the support!
post #11 of 13


Good for you! I am so pleased that this went well!
YEEHAWW!
post #12 of 13
That's awesome news, congratulations!
post #13 of 13
Congrats!!! I hope he settles down soon
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