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Protocals for Relocating Ferals ?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Last month there was a thread about Kansas feral cats being killed. They are being trap-neutered and relocated to colonies with permanent caregivers, as returning them to their current location will endanger their lives.

I've been asked to take 2 of them into my colony and have not done that before. Got great tips from many people (many are contradictory), and would like to hear any advice from folks that have gone thru this before.

I was going to crate them in the barn with litter/food/water for a 2 week period. The existing colony visit that barn so they should get used to the scents of not only the residents, but the area. My only hesitation is that the barn is a pass-thru area - most of the ferals prefer living under my house (and I can't fit a crate under there). The barn is about 50 yards from the house itself.

post #2 of 6
I wouldn't crate them for two weeks. I would crate them 24 hrs max, then let out in a contained area of the barn for at least a week- maybe you could ressurrect some sort of holding pen from chicken wire and 2x4's? Make a small area where you can slide in food, and keep them in there at least a week before letting them loose. Prior to letting them out, set out tasty bowls of good meaty canned food for them to encourage them to stay. They will bolt for a bit, but they will come back and eat and mingle with your other cats.
post #3 of 6

A couple years ago we had to relocate a colony. Because my friend and I were affiliated with a shelter, we were able to borrow a 2-story cage and put it in their new home--a suburban fenced back yard. The trap fit in somebody's pickup truck.

We had an entire family in there, mom, dad, 4 teenagers. Upstairs we had a hidy place for them (upside down litterbox hoods with blankets), food, and water. Downstairs were 2 litter pans. We kept them in there for 2 weeks because that's what I read to do online. It worked. Everybody stuck around when we released them! They spend the majority of their time lounging in that yard now or in the garage.

Barns are notoriously leaky with a million places to escape, eh? This past fall for the first time I dealt with a barn relocation of 3 ferals. I urged the woman to escape proof her barn as much as she could and keep them in there at least 5 days. She said in the past she'd released cats in a day or two and they always stuck around. Whether she listened to me or released them sooner, the cats are apparently still there, so it worked.

Please let us know what you do because I want to learn more about this in case I face another barn situation.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Well I found out on Wednesday that the 2 girls that are coming to my house (mother / 9 month old daughter) have been crated in a live trap for the last 6 weeks. We immediately got them pulled and are in large recovery cages at another rescue worker's garage. There are a lot of people crying over what happened to these girls and a hot topic at the NMHP dinner last night.

I installed a 4 X 8 X 4 foot cage in my garage today with a 12 foot enclosed tube-like run to another 2 X 4 foot cage in the grass. Have numerous boxes, tunnels, and hiding holes in the large cage, along with branches to claw/climb if they are fit enough and so-inclined to do so. I have some additional work on rigging a closure for the door to the garage (the run goes out the door and I can't close it) to keep out the rain and keep them in if they happen to try to bolt when I feed them/clean their litter.

I'm armed with the Alley Cat's relocation guidelines, and have support from a large number of cat rescue groups nearby. Everyone is terrified that regardless of what I do right now, they will bolt after their experience in the live traps. Returning them is impossible as the city they came from is trapping and killing.

If you have it in you, send these girls all the positive vibes you can muster! They are going to need it!!
post #5 of 6
Sending good and calming vibes...Poor cats...6 weeks is just cruel to be in carrier.

post #6 of 6
<<[quote=Momofmany]Well I found out on Wednesday that the 2 girls that are coming to my house (mother / 9 month old daughter) have been crated in a live trap for the last 6 weeks. >>

What were they thinking? Oh, yeah, they weren't. Well, that happens to the best and worst of us.

I think we need a lot more trap education out there, starting with calling these things what they are, CAGE traps, not HUMANE traps or LIVE traps. Any trap that catches an animal alive is a "live" trap and that includes a leghold.

You can kill or abuse a cat in a cage trap easily, if you are lulled into thinking somehow you can't hurt or neglect an animal in one. People set them on roofs without fastening them, in culverts and under drip edges on houses without thinking about rain...thank goodness most cat rescuers monitor their traps most of the time so even if a bad decision is made, they see it immediately. The wildlife people catch when they set them in the gardens and leave them overnight aren't as lucky.

Bless you for snatching these cats from those conditions. I don't think they'll bolt just because of the experience in the traps. So much just depends on the individual cat. I tell people to make sure it's going to be a quiet day, open the door, and entirely leave the barn. Also, put lots and lots of food bowls out near every barn exit (inside) so even if the cat leaves, it encounters food on its way out and remembers food is there.

A story on a relocation we did is at


Good luck to you.
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