The following is excerpted from an article by Alley Cat Allies,
the national feral cat network promoting nonlethal control for
feral cat colonies and humane methods to reduce the population of
feral cats. Please see
their Web site
for the complete text, including sources for buying traps.
- Set up a daily routine by feeding the cats at the same place and
time. It is also important to identify all the cats in the colony.
- Withhold food one day prior to trapping. Hunger is the key element
in enticing them into the trap. Use tuna or fish, which they find
irresistible. Place newspaper on the bottom of the trap and trail
bits of food from the front to the back, placing most of the food
behind the treadle which they must step on in order for the trap
- When trapping, place the trap in a quiet, safe place, where they
are accustomed to feeding and where you can see or hear when a cat
is trapped without interfering in the trapping process. (Watch the
trap from inside your car, house, or another area where the cats
can't see you). Do not leave the trap unattended as a cat in a trap
is helpless and vulnerable to the weather, passers by, and other
- Once trapped, some cats may panic and thrash about. Place a cover
over the trap (a towel or sheet works fine) to calm the cat. Do not
panic and do not release the cat. It may difficult to trap the cat
again that day. Cats may cut or scrape their faces in the trap.
These injuries are usually superficial and will not cause permanent
damage. Leave the cat in a covered trap for transportation to the
vet. Do not let the cat loose in a room or attempt to transfer into
a carrier. The cat will be safe and secure in the trap and will be
ready for the veterinarian to treat. If necessary, the cat can stay
in the trap for a day or two until the veterinarian can perform
surgery. Remember to withhold food and water 6-8 hours before
surgery (except for kittens).
- After surgery, the cat can be placed directly back into the trap with
clean newspaper on the bottom. Cats should be held for at least 24
hours and can be returned to the colony the next day if their eyes are
clear and they are alert. Cats can be kept in the trap for a couple of
days if necessary, simply slip food and water carefully through the
back door, being sure to secure the lock.
- Return the cat back to their colony and make sure fresh food and water
are provided. Monitor their health closely for the next week to ten days.
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