The cats should be on a routine feeding
schedule. If a new colony is identified, the cats should be fed at the
same time and place each day for one week prior to trapping. At this
point, we do not have the resources or facilities to handle tame
(friendly) cats differently from feral cats. All cats will be released
into their original environment. Same guidelines apply for kittens that
are 3 pounds and heavier or 12 weeks or older. They are old enough to be
either spayed or neutered.
WITHHOLD FOODYou must withhold all food from the cats you intend to trap 24 hours before trapping. This will ensure that the cats are hungry enough to enter the traps. Also, surgery will be easier on the cats if they have not eaten for the past 24 hours. While this may be hard, particularly if the cats appear hungry, remember you are doing what is best for them. Continue to provide the cats with clean, fresh drinking water.
START TRAPPINGTo begin, prepare the traps. Place the trap on a flat surface as you bait and set it.
If you use newspaper, fold it lengthwise and place it inside the bottom of the trap, to disguise the wires on the bottom of the trap. Do not use newspaper if it is windy.
Place approximately one tablespoon of bait along the very back of the trap on a piece of cardboard. You can use a lid or container for this if you wish. Place about one-fourth teaspoon of bait in the middle of the trap on or just in front of the trip-plate, and one-fourth teaspoon about six inches inside the front of the trap. It is important not to leave too much bait in the front or middle; this may satisfy the cat and she will leave without setting off the trap.
Place the trap on the ground near the feeding area and make certain it is stable and will not rock or tip. If you are using multiple traps, stagger them, and place them facing in different directions. Try to think like a cat and place the trap where it will be tempting. Move quietly and slowly, and try to remain relaxed so your mannerisms will not frighten cats away. You can also cover the traps now to disguise them.
Leave the area quietly. The cats are unlikely to enter the traps if you are standing nearby.
In good weather you can leave the traps overnight and come back early in the morning to pick up. If it is cold you don't want to leave them overnight. You may want to go sit in your car. It is preferable to quietly check the traps more frequently from a distance. You do not want to leave a cat in the trap for too long. Also, traps may be stolen, damaged, or set off. Someone who does not understand your intentions may release a trapped cat.
Trapping a feral cat may take some time. Be patient. It may take the cat a few minutes to go into the trap. Make sure the trap is sprung, and the cat securely trapped, before you approach the trap. If you come out too soon you may frighten the cat away.
SPECIAL TRAPPING TIPSIf certain cats will not go into the traps, try feeding them in unset traps for several days before trapping. Feed the cats in the same place and time as always. Wire the doors to the traps open and place the food inside. The cats will see other cats eating inside the traps and will likely try it themselves. Once they become accustomed to the traps they will be easier to trap.
AFTER TRAPPINGAfter the cat has been caught, cover the entire trap with a blanket or cloth before moving it. Covering the traps will help to keep the cats calm. It is normal for the cat to thrash around inside the trap. It is very tempting to release him but he will not hurt himself if the trap is covered. If a cat has already hurt himself, do not release him. Most injuries from traps are very minor, such as a bruised nose, scratched paw pad, or bloody nose. The cat will calm down once the trap is covered. If you trap a severely injured or sick cat rush him or her to the veterinary clinic. immediately
Transport the cats in the traps to the veterinary hospital. If you need to hold the cats overnight, keep them in their traps and make sure they are dry and warm. They can stay in a basement or isolated room if the weather is poor. It is possible for a cat to die from hypothermia when confined in a trap outside in cold weather (do not leave traps unattended if the weather is below 45* degrees Fahrenheit). A simple guideline-if it is too cold outside for you, then it is too cold for the cats. Do not leave cats in traps exposed to excessive heat or sun.
All trapped cats should be taken to Sam's or Alamo . Drop off times are between 8:30 and 9am. Each trap needs to have two completed "Treatment Request" forms attached to it. One is for the vet for their information and one is to stay on the trap so we know where to release it after pick-up. Standard treatment includes spay/neutering, rabies vaccination, left ear-tip. We will ask the vet to do a Feline Leukemia test on the first cat to be trapped in a colony only. Also note on the Treatment Request form any injuries that you may notice (e.g. big flesh wound behind ear, front left paw is bleeding). When you drop off the cat(s) be sure to ask when they will be ready for pick up. Generally it is between 4 and 5pm that afternoon.
When you pick up a cat be sure to get the paperwork from the vet on the treatment that the cat received. This includes the rabies tag and certificate. These will be forwarded to Angie for her records. After surgery, allow the cat to recover overnight in the same trap, still covered. Usually the veterinarian's staff will replace any paper in the bottom of the trap with fresh newspaper. If you see that they are not doing this, ask them to the next time you bring in a cat. Fresh newspaper will make the cats more comfortable during recovery. You can offer some food the next morning but most cats will refuse to eat while in confinement. Be sure to provide fresh water.
RELEASEPregnant Female cats usually need to be held for 48 hours after surgery. Non-pregnant females and males can be returned to the trapping site 12 to 24 hours following surgery as long as they are fully awake and do not require further medical attention. Make sure all cats are fully conscious and alert before release. If the cat needs further care (longer than 48 hours) you will need to transfer her into a holding pen or cat playpen.
Release the cat in the same place you trapped him or her. Open the front door of the trap and pull back the cover. If the trap has a rear door, pull the door up and off, pull off the cover, then walk away. Do not be concerned if the cat hesitates a few moments before leaving. He is simply reorienting himself to his surroundings. It is not uncommon for the cat to stay away for a few days after release; he will return eventually. Keep leaving food and water out; he may eat when you are not around.
Never release the cat into a new area. Relocating cats without the proper steps can endanger the cat's life. She will try to return to her old home, and may become lost or attempt to cross major roads. Also, feral cats form strong bonds with other cats in their colonies. Separating a cat from her colony members and leaving her alone in a new environment will cause stress, depression, and loneliness.
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