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I always have trouble catching the last couple ferals

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am new to this site and am relieved to find some support. I've been doing TNR for several years but have just moved to a new, not very supportive rural community.

Anyway, does anyone else have a problem with catching the last one or two (females!) in a colony? I do. To me it seems like they learn from their little buddies to stay away from the traps. I am about to start trapping a colony of all calicoes but I can only hide 2 traps at a time in their location. I suspect I'll catch the first couple easy but the last few will be awful. This is an especially skittish group anyway.

Does anyone find switching to some extra special bait later really tempts them? Or that withholding food for especially long periods of time finally will work? Any advice on catching those last tricky ones would be appreciated.

post #2 of 16
First off, welcome to the boards!

I have some tips, I have been TNR for over 12 years now. I don't trap in a visible spot where the other cats can see what happens. I wash out my traps with vinegar and warm water after trapping and air dry them at least 24 hours. I dribble sardine or mackeral juice all over the cage and around it, and I even use catnip as bait and put it in the food (just a small bit of it though, and always organic catnip)

Those are my tips, I hope they help. Others do TNR and they will be along soon to give your their tips. I also always put the food in jar lids, not bowls. They are so intent on getting the last of the food out, they don't notice the door shutting until it is to late.
post #3 of 16
I know what you mean. I had one female escape me for about 9 months (fortunately she never got pregnant). I kept catching the neutered ones over and over again! I finally broke down one day and trapped everyone in the colony and locked them in my garage. Once competition for food was gone, I waited until the next normal feeding time and left a trail of cat food into the trap. I ultimately caught her with Purina Cat Chow left on a small paper plate.

My Humane Society person that has done a lot of TNR swears by Kentucky Fried Chicken (minus the bones of course).
post #4 of 16
Wildgrace I can relate. I had a heck of a time 3 years ago with trying to catch 12 ferals, and the last two were pretty stubborn.

I usually wait for a few days when I get down to the last 1 or 2, they are hungrier usually, and they think I'm not coming back.

I always put tuna or baby food in my traps, I have never had a feral that didn't smell the tuna or baby food and go for it.

Good luck, know what you're going through, been there, done that.

Oh, for the record, out of the 12 I trapped 3 years back I ended up keeping 2 of the ferals. This colony was on an extremely busy intersection and they were living underneath a restaurant, the owner wanted to put them down. Found great barn homes for all of them, but the last 2, T-Bone and Popeye were FERAL!!! Well as of a month ago, T-Bone now lets me pick him up, and every night at bedtime he jumps on me to be pet and scratched, he purrs and rolls over, and it took him 3 years to come around. Never give up.

= ^..^ =
post #5 of 16

Dolphin wrote:

but the last 2, T-Bone and Popeye were FERAL!!! Well as of a month ago, T-Bone now lets me pick him up, and every night at bedtime he jumps on me to be pet and scratched, he purrs and rolls over, and it took him 3 years to come around. Never give up.

We haven't had to wait that long for any of the ferals we've brought indoors to "come around," but "ours" have all been less than a year old. Dolphin, what wonderful patience you have, and what a wonderful story!


We learned to trap using Hissy's tips. We've got a wiley one right now that is going to take extra work (and is worrying us sick in these subzero temperatures!!!!!!!!). This cat has not seen another cat being trapped - and yet seems to have figured out the trap. Just yesterday this guy (we haven't named him anything but Sick Eye yet, and that's no name!) somehow managed to drag the bowl of food out of the trap - so managed to get his meal without tripping the trap.

Last time we had a problem like this hubby camped outside with a very long thick string attached to the trap door, propped open with a stick (basically turned the have-a-heart trap into something like a drop trap that he triggered manually) - and when kitty went inside far enough - he pulled the string, snapping the door shut. There are many problems with this method.

If the ferals are people shy, like this one, you have to figure out a way to hide yourself to the cat - yet be able to see the trap.

If it's freezing cold out, like now, it's problematic because this is a time-intensive method of trapping. Same goes for trapping with this method during the week - it means using a sick day at work.

I recommend trying Hissy's suggestions first - and resorting to the time-intensive manual method as a last resort. But it does (or has) work(ed).

Sending you LOTS of good luck!!!!!!!!!

post #6 of 16
(Though obviously using a paper bowl and tying it to the floor of the trap is our next step in this particular case.....)
post #7 of 16
We are always excited to have a new feral friend join us here in the ferals Forum.

I haven't found a feral yet who can resist kippered herring. It has such a strong smell that they simply can't stay away!

Lisa (houseofcats) has had a few of these very hard to catch ferals in her colony at the park. She has been able to catch them with drop traps. Hopefully she will check in soon and describe to you how to build one of these.
post #8 of 16
Click here for a thread that shows the drop trap Lisa uses.
post #9 of 16
I'm currently in that position now. I just need to catch the mom and her brother. I've caught all 4 kittens and an adult male, possibly the father of mom and kittens (see my thread at http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...threadid=30208)

I'm also using a pet carrier as a trap. It's how I caught two of the kittens. The brother will go all the way in, but he runs at the slightest sound. So every time I'm ready to close the door behind him he takes off. But lately he's staying in it longer, so perhaps there's hope. He avoids the trap and won't even put his head inside.

Mom is the same way. I want to catch her before February and mating season.

Check out what I caught last night. If only these two cats were as easy. He/she just walked in both the carrier and trap.
post #10 of 16
NOT a happy camper...but a well-fed one.
post #11 of 16
It is amazing how easy it is to catch raccoons! I've caught quite a few myself!
post #12 of 16
We catch about two raccoons for every one cat, LOL! We also trap possums - one was so huge we couldn't believe it got into the trap (let alone wanted to squeeze in there!)
post #13 of 16
fuzzmom..AWWWWWW..that is one very LARGE Raccoon!! I am simply amazed by everyone who is dedicated to trapping and caring for feral cats. Thank you all for all you do!!

post #14 of 16
Actually, I've seen larger but this one looked pretty healthy. He/she was amazingly calm throughout the whole thing, even my picture taking.

I'm beginning to think I'll need a drop trap to catch these last two cats. They're just to leary of the regular traps.
post #15 of 16
Yes, we've had the same problem! One female took us 1 1/2 years to finally capture her! My husband built this drop trap and it has been a life saver! We've caught up to 6 cats at one time in it. We finally caught the one female by putting food under this trap for 2 weeks to get her use to it. We secured it so it would not fall, then one evening we set it, and got her!!

post #16 of 16
HouseofCats - That's a nice looking trap.

I've contacted the trapper and he's going to let me borrow it again. It's how we caught the first 2 kittens.
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