or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Trapping tips for the difficult adult cat?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Trapping tips for the difficult adult cat?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi again! I've posted a couple of times about the colony ofr four ferals that we're relocating. I'm happy to report that 3 of the 4 were trapped over the weekend and are in their new enclosure. (I have pictures of it, but haven't had a chance to download and organize them yet ... I will though.)

Here's my dilemma for the last cat ... the matriarch of the colony, "Moon." Moon actually ate in the trap the first night. The mechanism didn't trip properly so she was allowed to leave. However, she did see at least two of the other three traps close and quickly ran away. That was Friday night.

Saturday night she showed up to be fed, but kept her distance. We baited the trap Saturday night, put only water outside the cage ... but no luck.

This morning I have moved the trap and her regular food dish to a more enclosed area where we used to feed her. I put out some regular dry food because she has not had regular feedings now for two days. I draped the trap with a sheet that has been sprayed with a calming feremone spray and have it baited.

It upsets me to think she's alone ... and I really want to get her trapped. I think I will buy some smellier bait options for tonight. Should I put the trap back in the regular feeding area tonight?

I read the recommendations via the links at the top of this page. Does anyone else have ideas on how I can catch Moon and reunite her with the rest of her family?

P.S. We have seen her lurking at a distance, so at least I know she is still in the area.

post #2 of 9
Catnip has always worked for me with difficult to trap cats. Check the mechanism to be sure it will engage, and try and get her out of the trap ASAP as the catnip can make them crazy. Also use only a small amount- that's all that is needed. I would also take the sheet off and put leaves or branches or shrubbery on top-

Good luck!
post #3 of 9
We don't use traditional Have-A-Heart traps....we just use a 36-inch or 24-inch metal crate/cage, the kind you can get at PetSmart. They're not cheap ($40-$75), but they're worthwhile and you could possibly borrow one from a pet shop, sympathetic vet (clean it first, as per Hissy's comments below) or rescue group. Click HERE for an example. There are also slightly cheaper ones avaible but the other models are easier to put together.

Run a string through the cage from the rear panel of the cage to the top corner of the front door, so you can pull the door closed from a distance. If this setup doesn't make sense, let me know.

Bait the cage with tuna fish. We get tuna with oil, then pour some oil outside the cage, leading in. The tuna has to go into the center of the cage so they can't reach it through the bars, or they'll just try to eat it from the outside. It doesn't have to be much tuna - if the cat freaks out once she's caged, you'll have tuna everywhere and a smelly cat that you can't clean.

Anyway - we run a 40-foot piece of rope through the cage, back-to-front, attached to the top of the open door. Make sure you've got a good knot and do a few test runs on pulling it closed, fast. The larger cages are very open, so the cats eventually relax with the idea of stepping into the cage to get the tuna.

Once she's COMPLETELY in - pull hard on the rope to quickly close the door and hold tight so she can't escape. Our ferals all freaked out initially and then slowly calmed down. But keep holding the string and get someone to latch the door shut.

Of course, with this method, you have to be in the vicinity of the trap, so be sure to bring a good book and some patience.

If you leave the cage there with food in it, but don't trap them, it also gets them used to the cage. We tend to feed the cats in the same place every day, so they're not so surprised when the food is suddenly in the same place, but in the cage.
post #4 of 9
PLEASE don't use Lysol to clean any type of cat carrier or cage. Lysol is extremely toxic to cats. You can achieve the same result with bleach and hot water, and let it air dry. The Havahart traps come highly recommended by anyone who rescues cats. I would suggest if you can get the newer models that open from the top instead of the just the side.
post #5 of 9
Whoops - sorry, I'll correct my suggestion. I was just thinking of a standard disinfectant (which is why I was suggesting cleaning with water as well). But I defer to your expertise on that...

Also -- I have nothing against the Have-A-Heart traps - The main reason I'm suggesting this method is because all of our ferals were extremely timid and I think the size of the larger cage might help coax a wary cat into the space. We've caught about 7 cats using this method.

But whatever works!!!
post #6 of 9
The woman that does the feral TNR at our humane society swears by Kentucky Fried Chicken as a bait. She's caught all the hard to catch ones with that.

Continue feeding at the same time and same location - she will be more relaxed if what you are doing is "normal".

If your trap won't trip (that happened to me recently), try to get another trap with another type of spring mechanism.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the tips. Please continue to share your expertise. I think I may be at this for a while!

I spoke with a volunteer from one of our local cat rescues and she suggested feeding close to the door of the trap and slowly moving the food into the opening of the trap, then up halfway, etc... until the trap is actually baited. This will take a few nights, but at least Moon did eat her tuna-drizzled dry food last night, right at the door of the trap.

I'll move the food slightly inside tonight and will increase the amount of tuna in it to lure her in. If I can move it a bit each night I should have her by about Thanksgiving.

I am leaving the trap out at all times so she can spot it as she lurks around during non-feeding times. I was worried she'd leave the area with her 3 family members gone, but am happy to say she's still here. I haven't seen her on the patio chairs with her blankets, which concerns me. It's been cold here (for Arizona) the last couple of nights.

I'll keep you posted, but please continue to share successful methods in case I need alternatives?

Thanks! Janet
post #8 of 9
Try kippered herring. I haven't found a feral yet who could resist the herring's strong smell!

I put a trail of very small pieces of kippered herring leading into the trap with a big pile of the fish in the back (big enough for the cat to easily see). Cats simply cannot resist this smelly treat!

p.s. I tip over the fish once the cat is in the cage so they can't eat the pile of food.
post #9 of 9
The cage with string attached method that Scott mentioned works fine for little kittens. Adult feral cats in a panic can have unbelievable strength and I feel most of them could escape, and make future attempts to trap them more difficult.

I trapped a very wary and cautious adult feral recently. Feeding her outside the trap for a few days is a good idea, and I did this, gradually moving the bowl inside the trap. When I decided she was ready, I didn't feed her anything for about 48 hours, to ensure she would be hungry enough to go into the trap.

I put very smelly salmon cat food in the trap, with tiny morsels leading from outside the trap to inside. Success!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Caring for Strays and Ferals
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Trapping tips for the difficult adult cat?