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I've never trapped in snow...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the informative replies to my previous messages. I am so glad to not be flying blind anymore. I hope you'll offer some input on these questions too.

I've moved from California to the midwest and this is my first winter with actual snow. I am used to trapping in totally dry conditions and do not know how to proceed. Here are a few of my questions:

1. Do you withhold food the night before in 20 degree weather? I feel like it's especially heartless when it's so cold.

2. I have one area where discreting is important on a university campus. The administration are okay with the cats being there surprisingly, but I don't want the students that live right next to the cats being drawn to my feeding and shelter area out of curiosity. Where I would have to trap has a couple inches of snow. Can I set the trap on top of the snow if it seems to lay evenly or will it topple later and foil my trapping? Should I lay a blanket underneath it? or will the blanket make the cats even more suspicious?

3. The nearest place to park my car is not within eyesight of the cats I'm trapping. I'd have to stand out in the weather to actually watch the cats, which would make them suspicious anyway. I'm wondering how often you check your traps in 20 degree temps. I don't want to check TOO often but I don't want a cat freezing whose been caught. And I worry about lookyloos. What do you do?

4. When will the mating begin? I'm used to year-round seasons essentially. I've heard February and March. Which is it? I'm really banking on having February and the beginning of March for all my cat catching. I assume it'll still be pretty cold out here in early March. Do the cats wait for it to get a certain temp or are they mating based on the new position of the sun?

5. In CA I lined my traps w/ newspaper on the bottom. Do you put something different? The newspaper might soak up all the moisture underneath the traps. A friend of mine used old crib liners cut in half. I might try that....

Well, as always I'm thankful for any input. Maybe someday I'll be able to share some suggestions, too!

post #2 of 5
I really don't know if I can help answer any of your questions, because we've not had to trap in the snow in a different place from where we feed them - and because it's right outside, we can hear when the trap trips, so there's no waiting at all once the cat is in the trap.

When trapping in cold weather we do not withhold food the night before. When trapping in cold weather, we use a little bit of tuna, heat it up, and sprinkle just a touch of organic catnip on it. The smell of hot tuna works enough for most to head into the trap. But the trap is placed where they're used to eating and baited about when they're used to eating.

We do put newspaper on the bottom of the trap, even in snow - but, again, the trap is usually out there for no longer than an hour before they head in there to eat (and it's usually only about half an hour before they get brave enough to go into the trap - if they're going in). We put nothing under the trap. If it lays evenly on the snow, I don't think you'll have a problem. I don't know what crib liners are, but if it's moisture-proof and works for your friend, I don't think it could hurt to use instead of newspaper.

We keep the blanket to cover the trap once they're trapped, and we transport them in the trap, covered with the blanket.

Is there enough space without cover blocking your view for you to use binoculars? That way you could keep an eye on the trap but be far enough away.

I wonder if there's a wireless baby monitor that works on batteries? If you have the resources, that might be worth looking into. Without being able to see or hear the trap is that like you I don't know if I'd want to leave a trap for an hour in 20 degree weather - but checking the trap every 15 minutes will probably result in trapping no cats.

I honestly don't know when mating begins. I don't even know how long pregnancy is! Most kittens around here (northern NJ) are born April/May - but it's still very wintery (here) in February.

I know this is awful, but the females can be spayed even if pregnant (up to a certain point I think, but I don't know details). It really is horrible to say, but many have had to deal with this issue. I think the consensus, at least here, is that the best thing to do is to tell the vet not to let you know. Trapping in March really should be fine if you can't find a way to do it now. The problem in March is rain.

I know I haven't been of much help - I'm sure others will have better suggestions for you!

BTW - Bless you for trying to figure out how to do this! Hubby froze his butt off last year trying to trap one particular cat. Winter trapping is NOT fun!
post #3 of 5
The advantage to trapping in snow is the cats are hungry and on the prowl for food. I used an old pallet, placed cardboard over the top of the pallet, put the trap on the pallet and secured it by bungee cords (they tend to slide in icy conditions. I also put a little bit of straw on the bottom of the trap, not a lot, but some. I used warmed up chicken broth and tuna juice, and sprinkled organic catnip inside the trap and in the food- not a lot though. I covered the top of the trap with pine boughs and monitored the trap closely.

Good luck, and may I say I am glad I only trap in the rain now!
post #4 of 5
MA - how frequently did you check the traps?
post #5 of 5
I PMd Hissy in case she didn't check back in here. She stayed by the traps - but it was in subzero weather, so it was an entirely different situation.
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