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Forgotten Felines of Forsyth

Committed to Humanely Reducing the Feral Cat Population of Forsyth County

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Trapping Tips

From the collective experience of our best trappers, FFF offers the following tips to help trap the reluctant and elusive feral cats.












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To view a step-by-step photo instruction for setting a humane trap, please click here.

NEVER leave a trap unattended! Traps should be checked every 15 minutes.  Additionally, house trapped cats indoors while waiting for transport or during recovery. An ill-intentioned person who finds the trap could harm the cat, or a well meaning cat lover who doesn't realize that the cat has been trapped for TNR might set the cat free. Predators could drag the trap, causing grave injury to the trapped cat's paws. Warning, the photos on this link are graphic, but they demonstrate the importance of attending a trap.

*  Use a small bait trail leading into the trap, with a big reward at the back of the trap, behind the trip plate. Put the food on a scrap of newspaper or paper plate so that the cat cannot injure itself on a bowl. - Diana P.

*  Most people start trapping around 2:00p.m., the day before surgery. Plan for trapping so that you don't have to hold the cat too long. Do not give the cat food for 12 hours before it goes in for surgery.  - Pam C.

Line the trap with a single sheet of newspaper, folded to match the size of the trap. Cats don't like the feel of the wire bottom. Use clothespins to secure the edges of the newspaper to keep it from blowing in the wind, which could scare a cat. Be sure to have the trip plate set before securing the clothespins. - Diana P.

*  Patience, Patience, Patience! Don't give up! There will be cats that it seems you cannot trap, and then when you aren't expecting it, they will go in the trap! - Rebecca K.

* Be sure to withhold all food (canned and dry) on the day of trapping, and sometimes it may require a longer time, maybe a day and a half or two days. Many people have a hard time withholding food, but it is essential. A hungry cat is a trappable cat. - Diana P.

*  Hang a piece of half-cooked bacon from the top of the trap, near the back, so the cat will go in far enough to trigger the trip plate. - Judy J.

stanley copy.jpg (38492 bytes)* Change the bait if the cat doesn't take the first offering. Most cats respond well to oily tuna (the water-based kind dries out too quickly and loses its fragrance). Canned salmon also works well. I have had less luck with sardines and mackerel but always try something different next time if the cat won't take the previous bait. Canned chicken, roasted chicken, even KFC is a great alternative for those cats who don't like fish. I have rarely had success trapping with regular cat food but it's worth a try if you've tried everything else.  - Diana P.

*  If you are trapping on your own property and can leave a trap out, take the back off the trap for a while (and take it inside) and feed in the trap, so the cats become accustomed to it. Then you can set the trap when you are ready to TNR. - Rebecca K.

*  To prepare your vehicle for transporting a trapped cat, line the seat or holding area with large garbage bags and newspaper or dog pee-pads. - Pam C.

*  If you are trying to get a cat accustomed to a trap, but are trapping at a public location and are concerned that the trap could be stolen, construct a trap-sized rectangle out of chicken wire or fencing, and feed the cat in it. If it is stolen or thrown away, it would be cheap and easy to replace. - Lora S.

*  Once you've trapped a cat, if it has not been TNR'd, do not release it. Cats learn very quickly and you will probably not get the cat back in the trap once it's been trapped. Hold it until you can get it to a vet for surgery  - Diana P.

After feeding in the trap for several days, when you are ready to catch the cat, spray the trap thoroughly with catnip spray. - Sue L.

*  Use tuna or some other really smelly fish for bait. - Pam C.

*  There's nothing quite like an old burlap bag (do not wash!) or a large sisal "Coffee Bean" bag from Columbia if you can get your hands on one. Place the trap in a new place . . . preferably up against a wall of a building. This placement will make the cat feel more secure since that would be it's general path as opposed to a wide open area. Slide the trap into the burlap bag, or drape the bag over the trap. Pour a little trail of oil from a sardine can from 2 feet outside the entrance of the trap to the inside. Drop one sardine 6" inside the trap and place the can of sardines in oil in the back of the trap over the trip plate. - Barbara H.

coathangertrap copy.jpg (35658 bytes)*  For cats that will go into a trap but not far enough to trigger the trip plate, lift the trap door, but don't set the trip plate. Insert a flattened coathanger through the wire mesh on one side of the trap all the way to the other side, under the trap door (see photo). With a string attached to the coat hanger, you can hide somewhere out of sight with the other end of the taut string in hand. When a cat enters the trap far enough to close the door, quickly pull the string and slide the hanger out in one quick motion. Practice this technique ahead of time to ensure that you can do this in one quick motion. - Diana P.

Once the cat is trapped, cover the trap with a towel or other cloth to reduce the cat's stress during holding and transport. A frightened cat will try it's best to escape from the trap, so ensure that the trap door is properly latched. If you have to hold the cat before transport, keep it in a quiet place indoors away from people and other animals if possible. If you hold the cat overnight, give it water up until 4 hours before surgery.

If you leave a trap out to get cats accustomed to eating in it, keep the sliding door inside, so that if the trap is stolen, an ill-intentioned person cannot use the trap.


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Contact Information
Forgotten Felines of Forsyth
PO Box 11363
Winston-Salem, NC 27116






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