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How to get the feral kitty out of the trap?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have a kitten in a Have A Heart trap in my spare bedroom, and will need to get him or her into the cat carrier in the morning for a trip to the vet...anybody have a good method of doing that?

Maybe I am over thinking this, but I have trouble getting my house cats into the carrier on vet days, so I am kind of considering just taking the kitty in the trap to the vets.

The kitty was trapped at the Rod and Gun Club I belong to this morning, and I brought it to my house this afternoon. There was a litter of four kittens, and a momma there...two of the kittens have since disappeared, one other (Riley) was trapped three weeks ago and he is already tamed and living inside a club member's home.

We have been trying to get them in the trap for weeks. These kittens have all had contact from afar from lots of the shooters (cat food and water was being put out by more than one of us) as they were living underneath a storage building fifteen feet from the rifle range firing line. There are foxes, raccoons and other predators in the area, so not sure what happened to the other kittens. We are going to try and get the momma too.

Initially, I was only going to pay for a spay/neuter and then release back at the club because I already have four kitties...but the disappearance of the other two kittens got to me. I am going to have to make a decision if and when we get the momma because she is completely feral and I really don't know if I have the time it would take to tame her.

The kitty looks to be about two or three months old, hissing and spitting, and knocking over the water. He or she ate a small can of cat food all up, and is cowering at the back of the cage on a towel. I have a small box lid filled with dirt in there in hopes it will be used, and some kibbles.

Any advice appreciated.
post #2 of 25
Leave it in the trap. No question about it. Just keep the trap covered, and take it in as is.

The kitty can probably be socialised - are you willing to try and do that? If so, you need a spare room, some spare time, and patience, but you will get there.
post #3 of 25
When you put the trap in your car, put a sheet of plastic under the trap in case they do make a mess in there. And keep a towel of blanket over the top of it. Most people will keep a feral cat in the trap when they take them to the vets.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Oh yeah, I am willing, but I work in the day so time is an issue. Luckily, I am off tomorrow, and hubby's hours away are less than mine so hopefully we can get this one adjusted to inside life as quickly as it's sibling. We will definitely keep the kitty confined to the spare room during the day.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks the plastic is definitely a good idea!!! We used hubby's pick up truck this afternoon, but I don't know how to drive a stick so I will get a couple of garbage bags and drape them over the seat.
post #6 of 25
Yes I agree, leave it in the trap. Its first instinct will be to dart, and then it may be very difficult to get him contained in the carry case. It will save you time and aggrevation! He needs time to calm down. Place him in a quiet area, and then try talking to him a bit so he can feel a little comfortable. It is a process when you first take them in, but in a couple days the baby should be okay. Some kittens turn right around, and others may take a little longer. Either way it is well worth it! Good luck!
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone...I appreciate the advice. I just went in there to check on the little kitty, and as soon as I looked in the cage I got "charged at" and a good strong hiss! I will let you guys know how the vet visit goes.
post #8 of 25
Heh, it's amazing how scary a kitten hiss and spit is
post #9 of 25
Yeah, leaving in the trap is probably a good idea. Though, when I caught Carl (he was a feral), I didn't know this I opened the cat carrier, pushed it right up against the trap in the back, and then lifted the plate in the back of the trap. He darted right into it, and I shut the door. I was lucky! Good luck with this little one
post #10 of 25
Definitely leave the kitten in the trap. I just went through this and lost the first kitten (of four) trying to transfer her from the have-a-heart to the carrier - I'm pretty sure she's the same kitten it took me another eight days to catch.

You've got your work cut out for you - I wish you the very best of luck!
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ok, didn't get any pics yet, but we went to the vet this morning and had the blood work, first vacination and spay. The vet thinks "Holly" is about eight weeks old. She was home by five pm, and is fairly well alert. I just put the carrier down with the door open and she came right on out and went to hide behind the sewing machine.

I gave her some water a few minutes ago, but she just growled at me.

I think I will surf the net in there with her so she can get used to me.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well I had to work today, came home and couldn't find Miss Holly, put a fresh can of cat food out and left it for her. She ate about half of it, so it seems like she is ok.

She is drinking her water and going in the box, guess I can't complain. Hope she warms up to me soon.
post #13 of 25
Give her a few days, she should start to come around. She is young enough to completely turn around. I had one young kitten, probably about 10 weeks at the time, Bipper. When I first caugh him, he was one of the nastiest kittens I had dealt with. He was hissing and spitting, didn't want to be petted or handled. With persistence, he came around within a weekend. I would take a blanket, pick him up with it and then pet him and talk to him until he would calm down. Also, if your kitten is still acting "wild" try putting her in a crate. Give her less area so she is less threatened. Cover the crate with a blanket, so it is nice and cozy for her and let her be able to see out through some of it. Then you can actually train her to go in and out of the crate, she will hide a little less, and feel like she has a safe place that is for her. I had one cat, who we adopted out to a lady, and it was more feral than we realized. He ended up finding a hole and going into the wall, and was missing (and starving) for a week until we could locate him. Be sure you have no open or tiny areas that she could try to escape through. When they are scared, they may try anything and go into unimaginable places to try to find safety. I have found it is best to keep them more contained as they begin to turn around and then give them more freedom as they become more comfortable.
post #14 of 25
Best way to socialise them is force love onto them Get some gloves so you can pick her up by the scruff of the neck without being clawed, carry her into the bathroom (or other small space), and hold her on your lap giving her lots of head rubs and pats. Keep doing this at least once a day, more if you can, and before you know it, she'll stay in your lap, then the first purr will come
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well, I know I am not doing this right, but I just couldn't bear to keep the little baby confined in the spare room for more than the first few days, and so she has been free to come and go around the house. We haven't started forcing her to be held because she is really skittish and tends to hide behind the Christmas tree a lot.

If I get too close she has a real hissy fit! Bucky is the only kitty who wants to be her friend, the others are ignoring her, but I did see her sneak up and sniff Sister the other day.

She is going back to the spare room to eat her food and to use her litter box, tonight I saw her using the big kitty litter box in another room.

I do want to try petting her soon, because she is soo cute, and besides she is due back to the vet for her second booster shot in a few weeks and I will need to get her into the carrier.

This is going so unbelievably slow!
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Holly is really starting to warm up to us. This morning I found her sitting on the couch. She hissed at me when I sat on the couch with her, but then proceeded to start playing with a wooden frog ornament on our tree. I have been up for two hours now, and she has been out with me the whole time.

She has a real soft meow, and was meowing at Sister this morning. I think she really wants to be friends with her, but Sister isn't having it. Well I took some pics.



post #17 of 25
Isn't she the little darling?!?!?

I just love feral kittens at that age. They try to be all spit and vinegar, but are really little mush-pots on the inside. Will you love me mom? Hssssssssss!! I really want to be your friend! Hssssssssss?
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Yep, you have her pegged. She looks at me with a real questioning look, like she is still trying to figure out why am I in this place with these two humans. I know she is still trying to figure out if she can trust me or not...but I think we are getting closer to being able to start going hands on.
post #19 of 25
Originally Posted by lakeriedog View Post
Yep, you have her pegged. She looks at me with a real questioning look, like she is still trying to figure out why am I in this place with these two humans. I know she is still trying to figure out if she can trust me or not...but I think we are getting closer to being able to start going hands on.
The reward with feral kittens is so wonderful when you see them turn around. That's probably why I love feral cats so much. You turn a creature that would otherwise have a horrible time with life into one that is loving and trusting. And not all of them fully turn around, and some of them only find love with you, but you know you've saved their lives.

Stumpy was my quickest turn around. I found him in an outbuilding (at my farm) when he was about 5 weeks old. His tail had just gotten chopped halfway off and I knew he needed medical help. So I had to corner the poor little guy to catch him. He hissed, growled, scratched and bit me as I picked him up, then continued with his antics the entire way to the house. When I walked in the door, I told DH what had just happened to him and asked him if we could keep him. I laid him on DH's chest (he was laying down at the time), and Stumpy just curled up in a ball and started to purr. Stumpy at age 13 stills prefer the company of DH over me, and that's OK. And btw - the tail amputation was a clean break and we had no health problems from it.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
I am glad Stumpy survived that. Sounds like your hubby is like mine, all of our kitties love him. Holly is coming out of the bed room in the early mornings to play, and has been trying to approach the cat crew. So far she is either ignored or hissed at ...well one day at a time.
post #21 of 25
That's so great you are making progress with Holly!! I agree with Momofmany, getting the trust of a feral (or semi-feral) is one of the greatest feelings in the world I subscribe to belief of "if you wait, they will come" sometimes it takes longer than others, but eventually, especially if they see you interacting with other cats, they will come around
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
The last few days have been very good, Holly let us pet her for the first time today!!!!

She started playing with the kitty toys this week, and jumping up on the bed while we are in it. Then this afternoon she let hubby pet her, and then this evening when I got home I got to pet her too! She is getting a little more brave every day, so I think she is going to do just fine here.

She likes hubby the best it seems, even though I am the litter box and kitchen slave....sigh
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
We are about half way into the sixth week with Holly, and she has come a long way. She still doesn't want to be picked up, but will sit in our laps when the mood strikes her.

Holly LOVES hubby, follows him everywhere he goes in the house and talks to him. This past weekend we barbequed some steak and scallops, and suddenly Holly is Holly the Begger Girl.

She doesn't spend her day hiding anymore, comes out to greet us when we come home and when we wake up in the morning, and is taking her bath on the couch right now. I think she is about 14 weeks old now, and I am pretty sure she likes it here.

The Rod and Gun Club kitty trapping has continued, so far three kittens and one cat have been trapped and fostered out. The full grown cat was not feral, appeared to be someone's pet and likely was dumped there.

Momma cat continues to evade the trap, but we are hoping to TNR her.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
We think Holly is just over a year old now, and I am so happy we were able to socialize her. She has quite the personality, and has taken to sleeping with me when I am home. I work nights, but she sleeps on my side of the bed when I am not home.

Her momma has been spotted on numerous occasions at the gun club, and continues to evade capture. She has been known to shut down the 100 yard line by sauntering across the range until someone shoos her off.

I was there yesterday and was told there are more kittens, one has been trapped and is at the Marin County Humane Society. I hope someone will give the kitty a home...we are up to five now, and a stray who showed up in our yard a few months ago makes it six really (I am going to see about finding a home for Mr. Stray.)
post #25 of 25
Thanks for the update, Lakeriedog! It's always nice to hear how things turned out. :-)

Too bad they can't catch momma cat, 'though. Has anyone though of tranquilizing her? Hmmm, can you even do that to a cat?

In any case, you've clearly done wonderful by Holly. I have five cats, too, all ex-ferals I trapped myself (one set at 8 weeks, the second at 12). I don't do rescues anymore because I clearly have issues letting them go after socializing them.
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