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How Do You Catch a Feral Cat That's Hard to Trap?

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Felix - In Loving- Memory

Felix the Lap- Cat
 
 
Purred: Sun Apr 22, '07 8:19pm PST 
Hi, Felix’s mom here. I need some advice from those of you who have experience trapping feral cats.

My mother has had a feral mother cat (“Mama Cat”) hanging around her house for about 2-3 years now. My mother has fed her and provided shelter for her and has attempted, unsuccessfully, to gain her trust enough to catch her in order to get her to a vet to get spayed. But even after all this time, Mama Cat is still extremely wary of humans and no one, not even my mom, can touch her (she will rub on mom’s legs when she takes food out to her, but if she tries to touch her, Mama Cat shies away). She is a smart, incredibly resilient cat. Mom has borrowed a humane trap at least a couple of times to try to catch her, but she won’t go in (the only animals that get caught in the trap are possums).

Needless to say, Mama Cat has had a few litters of kittens during this time, thanks to a couple of feral males that roam the neighborhood and that are also difficult to catch. My mom has usually been able to tame the kittens (those that survive) enough to catch them and take them to the nearest shelter when they have been old enough.

My mom is at her wit’s end. She loves animals, but she is 80 years old and this situation is taking a toll on her. She lives in a small town (near Waco, TX) and so far cannot find anyone to help her with this. The local animal control has lent her the traps, but they don’t seem to have a lot of interest in bringing the local feral cat population under control and have been of limited help.

Does anyone have any tips for trapping a smart feral cat like Mama Cat, or know anyone in the Waco, TX area who might be able to help my Mom? I will pass along to her any advice you have. Thank you in advance! Sorry this is so long.
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Sunshine - Sweet Angel

Miss Priss
 
 
Purred: Mon Apr 23, '07 10:41am PST 
You say she has used humane traps periodically, what I have found that works for a smart kitty, is to leave the trap out for a week or two before you set it. leave the latched end open and slowly place food in front of it for a week then move it into the trap opening, and then slowly over several days move it to the back of the trap so she gets used to being able to go in and then leave. At that point, turn the trap so the trap door is open and the latched end is closed and set it with the food in the back. If this does not work, maybe someone in the area has a "drop" trap available. Hope this helps.
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Sam

Rub my belly!
 
 
Purred: Mon Apr 23, '07 12:23pm PST 
It took our new cat a few weeks to fall for the trap. He only went in after it had been set out for awhile, with sardines inside and was totally covered by a blanket, so it looked like a good place to hang out.
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Felix - In Loving- Memory

Felix the Lap- Cat
 
 
Purred: Mon Apr 23, '07 7:44pm PST 
Thank you, Sunshine and Sam. I'm not sure how long Mom left the trap out on those previous occasions, but I will definitely pass along your suggestions to her. I know this is going to take a lot of patience and perseverance.

I appreciate your help!

Lisa (Felix's mom)
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Dodger

Rescue cat- manager Power of- the Purr
 
 
Purred: Tue Apr 24, '07 10:18am PST 
Good luck to your mom. One thing that the feral trappers that Yolo County SPCA works with do is to cover the bottom of the trap with newspaper or an old towel. That way the trigger is covered. Also, to use really smelly food cheap tuna or sardines & if it is cool to warm the food a little so the scent is stronger.
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Felix - In Loving- Memory

Felix the Lap- Cat
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 25, '07 5:33pm PST 
Thank you for more good ideas, Dodger. Will pass those along also, along with your good wishes. I hadn't heard about covering the bottom with a towel or newspaper - maybe that along with the cover on top of the trap will do the trick!
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Maggie May

fix your feline!
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 25, '07 6:28pm PST 
Felix, your grandma sounds so sweet!

I don't have anything helpful but I"m hoping you'll update us if she's able to catch this feral kitty and let us know how things go.
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Mawu is- looking 4 a- home!

Why are dogs- allowed on this- planet!!!
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 25, '07 8:22pm PST 
Our human found that stinky wet food rubbed into a paper plate works well. Especially if you remove any other food. She set our trap on the porch in the pathway to our feedstation(this helped keep unwanted animals out of the trap), started putting food in both places for a week, then put food only in the open trap for a few days and then started trapping. out of mama tom and two kittens; first and second day caught the kittens, fifth day caught mama, tenth day caught tom. Patience seems to be the key. Hope this helps!
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pearl

did you say- 'meow?'
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 25, '07 8:45pm PST 
felix, we've been there too and it is frustrating! everyone's advice is great. the only other thing we did was put straw in the trap, too (these were barn kitties).
one time when we caught "something" i peeked in there to see if we'd got a cat... i looked and saw a "bunny" and so i opened the door to free it- sure enough, it was a kitty cat- it fooled me! now we call that cat "bunny" and i get a lot of grief about it....
good luck! patience....way to go
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Felix - In Loving- Memory

Felix the Lap- Cat
 
 
Purred: Thu Apr 26, '07 6:17pm PST 
Maggie May, thank you for your kind words - my mother is definitely a softie when it comes to animals (so am I), which is why this situation has been so stressful for her. I will update if/when anything happens.

Mawu and Pearl, thank you for your input and good wishes. I'll definitely emphasize the importance of smelly food to my mom. I'll also suggest placing the trap on her back patio - this is where Mama Cat usually eats.

Pearl, loved your story about catching the "bunny"! laugh out loud

Lisa (Felix's Mom)

Edited by author Thu Apr 26, '07 6:20pm PST

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