In our State taking a feral to the pound is death. If you're going to trap/neuter/return, then I suggest trapping in a humane trap. Here's trapping instructions:
CATS SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FED (Continue giving water.)
Do not feed the cats for 24 to 48 hours before you try to trap them. They will not go into the traps unless they are really hungry.
1. Checklist of things you need or may need when you trap:
Cover for each trap
Dish or lid to hold cat food
Tarp or plastic for under traps when transporting in vehicle
2. Set the traps around the area where the cats are used to being fed. You can also set up in areas where they are seen. In general cats like to be up against walls, etc. so you are more likely to catch them there.
3. Potential Trap problems: Be sure that the trap door has a full, unhindered swing. If you are using the brown traps with the side chain attached to the trip plate (thing that they step on) check to see that the chain is not twisted or jammed when you set the trap.
If your trap is one with a back door look at how it is secured when you get it so you know how to correctly close it. If you do not close it correctly the cat may be able to escape.
4. Put newspaper, folded in half length wise, in the bottom of the trap and put a small amount of smelly food on a lid or other small item in the back of the trap against the door that will remain closed. Sprinkle a very small amount of the food along the newspaper in one or two places. Never put any food outside the trap itself. Suggested food: Tuna fish; sardines; Fancy Feast salmon or other smelly cat food.
5. As you trap the cats and move them be sure to look at the ground. Sometimes the tuna or other food you use for bait will spill onto the ground. Pick it up immediately if you have not yet caught all the cats you are trying to trap. You don't want it to be eaten by the other cats you are trying to trap.
When a cat is in a trap:
1. Immediately cover the trap completely with a towel or sheet then take the cat away from the area. (Careful as they can move back and forth quickly in the trap and catch you off balance.)
2. Always check to see if the left ear of the cat is ear-tipped. The tip of the left ear is cut straight across so that the tip is removed. That means that the cat was previously trapped, altered, and returned. It can be released. If you have sufficient traps, hold the cat in the trap until you are done trapping, and then release it.
3. It takes a while for other cats to come back in the area after a cat is trapped so be patient. It gets harder to catch the remaining cats with every trap they see or hear go off.
4. Do not feed the cat in the trap you risk escape and the cat is having surgery the following morning and should have nothing in its stomach. (The exception is kittens that are small but big enough to alter. Kittens blood sugar drops when they do not eat causing added risk during surgery so the recommendation is to feed them a small amount of MOIST cat food right up to a few hours before surgery.)
5. Put the trapped cat somewhere where it will not be too adversely affected by the weather and where it will be safe from people and other animals.
1. LEAVE THE TOWEL OR SHEET ON THE TRAP THE CAT IS IN THE ENTIRE TIME THE CAT IS IN THE TRAP. If the cat pulls the cover into the trap get another cover to put on the trap. Cats in traps must be covered.
2. You should put a tarp or other waterproof covering in the vehicle (for example, an old shower curtain.) The cats may urinate or defecate.
3. MAKE CERTAIN THE TRAPS CANNOT ROLL OVER IN YOUR VEHICLE. Gravity-operated (brown) traps will open if turned upside down. If you must stack the traps on top of each other make certain that the handle is not sticking up on the trap that is on the bottom and that the top trap is secure so that it will not tip on either side.
Holding the cat overnight and releasing the cat:
1. Hold the cats in an area where they are safe from predators and protected from the elements. After surgery, cats cannot regulate their body temperatures the way they normally can, so their holding area cannot be too cold in winter or too warm in the summer.
2. You should give the cats water and a little moist food, use extreme caution so the cats cannot escape from their traps. Using the same door you used to put the bait in the trap, lift the door up no more than necessary and never so far up that the cat can fit through the door if it suddenly decided to bolt forward. (The door should come up only a couple inches.) Be sure to secure the door correctly as well. If a cat is very groggy or unsteady, wait. You do not want to risk having the cat drown in the water or choke on the food.
3. Hold the cat a minimum of 24 hours after surgery. If there is continuing bleeding or other problems do not release the cat. Follow the instructions given by the veterinarian.
4. To release take the cat to its usual secure location preferably where there are bushes or other things in which it can hide, open the back door, pull the trap cover back, and stand at the opposite end of the trap to wait for the cat to go out. If it is near an area where there is vehicular traffic wait for a time when there is no traffic because the cat may make a panic run directly into oncoming traffic.
1. Clean the trap with a bleach solution. Bleaching traps helps prevent the spread of any diseases for future trappings.
1 gallon of water to 4 ½ oz. of bleach
2 gallons of water to 8¾ oz. of bleach
3 gallons of water to 13 oz. of bleach
4 gallons of water to 17 1/4 oz. of bleach
5 gallons of water to 21 ½ oz. of bleach
2. Wash the towels or sheets that were used as trap covers. Use bleach.