I’ve been making an extra effort to trap and neuter feral/neighborhood cats in the cold winter months. Doing so prevents kittens from being born in the spring, many of which suffer before they die from car traffic, weather elements, disease, animal and human predators. I’ve compiled 8 of my top trapping tips in hopes that it’ll encourage others to get out there and neuter the neighborhood feral cats.
1. Before starting any trap-neuter-return project it’s important that the colony caretaker has been instructed to withhold normal feeding the day of trapping so that the cats are hungry enough to enter the traps. No need to pull up the water bowl.
2. My go-to bait is any wet cat food that’s stinky. Seafood or chicken flavored foods are what I start with for bait and have resorted to using fried chicken, sardines or canned tuna as bait for the stubborn cats who won’t get in the trap.
3. Cats will NOT eat food with ants in it so spray the ground below the trap with some ant spray before placing the trap down. I recommend EcoSmart Organic Insecticide that is safe around pets and children.
4. Cats like to walk the perimeter of buildings so when trapping, place the trap in against a wall or under a bush in the area the cats usually eat.
5. I usually trap after the sun goes down because: a) that’s when cats are most active b) they will not be stuck in a trap with the sun beating down on them c) it’s not visible to people/human predators. ***Note: Do not leave a cat in a trap with direct sunlight on them so they do not have a chance of overheating. There are also some not-so-nice people out there who sometimes do bad things to cats, so make sure you hide the trap from plain sight.
6. Once a cat is in the trap, cover it immediately with a sheet, towel or blanket to calm them.
7. Cats that are trapped are scared and will often times urinate in the trap. Use a disposable plastic tarp or shower curtain liner to place under the traps when transporting in your vehicle. You can purchase them from most dollar stores.
8. Get the neighbors involved. This is my last tip but one of the most important. Education about the importance of TNR is key. Once educated about the benefits of TNR, many neighbors are willing to let you trap on their property but most importantly, you’ll find out if any of the neighbors are feeding the cats. Unless a cat is hungry, he will not go in a trap and I’ve met many neighbors who (thankfully) feed the cats, but we need them to withhold feeding while trapping is being done.
It is my hope that these 8 easy tips encourage you to get involved with TNR. Call your local shelter or humane society. Ask if they have traps you can borrow and if they recommend a feral cat clinic in the area. You’d be surprised! Many places have low cost or even no cost clinics that neuter feral cats. Think of the suffering you’ll be preventing by stepping up to TNR.