The population of feral and stray cats has become such a problem across the United States that shelters are already encountering over-population. Feral cats are those that have been born and raised in the wild. They are able to survive by themselves as they live in empty buildings, garages or abandoned cars and are most likely hard to train. How to catch feral cats may pose danger to the rescuers, especially when there is a lack of proper training. Trapping feral cats must be exercised with caution and skill as it can become a challenging task, especially when feral cats display outrageous behaviors.
Here are some tips on how you can do this without hurting yourself or the cats:
Prepare to catch feral cats. These cats tend to make a ‘hide out’ in specific places in your community. Nothing can be done without the proper preparation, so before setting out to trap feral cats, make sure that you come prepared with a list of target areas where feral cat colonies can be found. Set the appointment when you will do this and ready all the materials and equipment you will need.
Feed the cats before the actual trapping. Establish contact with the cats by feeding them at a specific time and place. Feeding stations must be a safe place for you and the cats, where they can anticipate their daily servings and be accustomed to the routine. This will make your job of trapping them become easier and faster.
Do not feed the cats a day before the trapping or catching schedule to ensure that they are hungry enough to fall into the trap prepared for them. Hold the feeding two days prior to catching cats that are trap-savvy or shy.
Ensure that you have all of the necessary equipment needed. Make an inventory of the number of cats in a colony and prepare traps for each of these cats. Prepare to complete the cats’ description after trapping them and their location so it is easy to return them to these places after spaying and neutering. Ask a veterinarian for specific recommended traps to use for feral cats that are safe and effective in trapping. Set the traps away from the cats as this can cause a commotion that may frighten the cats.
As a safety precaution, wear gloves when trapping and come prepare for any eventualities. In unfamiliar places and cat territories, ask someone to accompany you when you set out to trap cats, especially when doing it at night.
Baiting will help entice feral cats to the traps. Slide down folded sheets of newspaper inside the trap and place bait at the back of it. Line the paper with a small amount of bait until it reaches the back so the cat will continue down the trap to grab the food. Put a small amount of food as they are not supposed to eat the day before surgery.
Do not disturb the trapping area by individually taking the trapped cats. It is wiser to wait until all the cats of the colony are safely trapped inside before entering the scene. This will reduce the stress of the trapped cats and will not scare away the other cats.
Remember that the objective in being trained on how to catch feral cats is to control their growing population by trapping them so they undergo the surgery of spaying and neutering. Feral cats that have undergone the surgery are eartipped before they are returned to their specific locations. Continue to monitor and feed them even when they have been returned.