Trapping & Transporting Feral Cats
How to Trap and Transport Feral Cats, please note these important guidelines:
- Cats MUST be in traps when brought to ARF, not carriers. (There can be only one cat per trap. Two cats closely confined will injure each other.)
- If you need a Tomahawk trap, ARF can lend one to you. (A refundable deposit is necessary.) An ARF employee or Op Cat volunteer will show you how to work the trap. These traps do not harm the cats, but the experience is traumatic for them.
TIPS ON TRAPPING AND TRANSPORTING
- BAIT THE TRAP
The best bait we have found is canned mackerel. It’s very smelly, so it attracts cats. Do not feed the cats the night before you trap. You want them hungry enough to go into the trap. Put mackerel on a square of paper and put the trap on top of it. The bait will squeeze through the bottom of the cage, but when you pick up the trap, the mess of the bait doesn’t get all over the cat. (If you have a cat who’s smart enough to push the trap aside and eat the bait, then put the bait in the trap.) You may want to dribble a little bait at the mouth of the trap as a lure.
- SET THE TRAP AND WAIT
Set the trap and watch unobtrusively from a distance. When trapped, cats are terrified and react wildly. As soon as a cat is trapped, cover the trap with an old bath towel or sheet. The cat will then quiet down, thinking it is hidden. If you are trapping more than one cat, remove each cat as it is trapped so the other cats aren’t distracted by the trapped cat. NEVER LEAVE A TRAP UNATTENDED OR SET OVER NIGHT. Do not leave it exposed to extreme temperatures. The cat cannot move around and is very vulnerable to freezing cold in the winter, heat in the summer, wet weather, aggressive dogs or curious children. Or, you may trap a raccoon – truly unpleasant for all parties. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TOUCH OR COMFORT THE CAT. Feral cats are not comforted by contact with humans. Do not attempt to move the cat to a carrying case. If the cat escapes, stand back and let it go.
- BRING THE CAT TO ARF
When transporting cats to and from ARF, keep the trap covered and remember to put a plastic garbage bag or drop cloth under the trap to protect your car upholstery in case the cat sprays or urinates. Cats don’t often do this, but be prepared. The Adoption Center is located at 124 Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott (next to the East Hampton Airport). Drive to the back of the Adoption Center to the closed gates. Drive up slowly to the gates and they will open automatically. The delivery entrance is on your left. Please check in at the front desk before you bring your trapped cat inside. Fill out proper forms and tag the trap.
- PICK UP THE CAT AT ARF AND BRING BACK TO COLONY
When you pick the cat at ARF, keep the trap covered with the towel. In addition to getting neutered and vaccinated, the cat will have its left ear notched to identify it as an altered member of a feral colony. Don’t keep the cat caged to recover. Remember that the cat has not had anything to eat or drink for at least 24 hours. Release it back where it lives (POINTING AWAY FROM THE ROAD) and provide food and fresh water. The frightened cat will take off (you may have to jiggle the trap a little), but she will come back soon to eat, drink and recover in familiar surroundings.
- PROVIDE FOOD WATER AND SHELTER
Now the cat needs ongoing food, water and a little shelter from wet and cold. Straw (available at Agway) in a doghouse or wood box makes warm insulated bedding that wicks away dampness and stays fresh. (Any kind of cloth bedding will get wet and freeze in the cold and promote arthritis.) Don’t forget the fresh water, which is very difficult for cats to find in freezing cold or extremely dry weather.If you need assistance with trapping or you’d like to borrow a Tomahawk trap, please call Rita at ARF at 631-537-0400 x210.