Preparing to trap
Here are several tips that will make trapping easier. A good place to begin is to review the Getting Started guide.
- Community outreach. Talk with the neighbors in the area you are trapping, hand out flyers, and educate them about trap-neuter-return (TNR). Find out who feeds the cats, and get their contact information to coordinate withholding food.
- Count the cats. Using the above techniques, get a count on the number of untipped cats by asking neighbors and seeing who visits.
- Withhold food. Remove all food sources 24-36 hours before trapping. This ensures cats are hungry enough to enter traps.
- Trap training. If you have access to traps but are waiting for your appointment, zip tie open the trap (so it won't catch a cat) and feed the cats only out of the trap for several days before trapping. When cats see other cats get trapped, they start getting trap smart, and trap feeding ahead of time makes it a lot easier to trap the last few cats.
There are several variations of traps but I prefer Tru Catch for both kittens and adult cats. When set correctly, these traps are extremely successful and safe. Tomahawk has a Gravity trap similar to Tru Catch, which has a locking mechanism for the front door. For large tomcats or single cats, Tomahawk FixNation 32" with powder coating is a good option.
- Base: use newspaper, cardboard, pee pads, vinyl flooring. I find the vinyl flooring the best and easiest to clean.
- Bait: tuna, sardines, Fancy Feast flaked fish & shrimp, and Friskies are all good options. Only use a small amount at the very front of the trap (2-3 very small piles) leading towards the trip. The main bait (2 Tbsp) is placed at the very back of the trap behind the trigger plate. Note: do not put any bait on or near the trip plate, or it will cause an early trigger and the cat can escape.
- Placement: place the trap flush against a wall, plants, or other objects. The best spot for the trap is where they are used to eating.
- Cover: I like to trap uncovered with close supervision of traps. If the trap is uncovered, you must be able to immediately cover the trap. If you are not able to get to the trap within 30 seconds, the trap MUST be covered during trapping.
After the catch
If you catch a cat, cover the trap completely with a large towel and move to a quiet area and place on pee pads. For safety, it is best to secure both trap doors. Removable zip ties can be used to secure the front door and a carabiner on the back.