How do you trap a cat?
August 5, 2005 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Advice for trapping a stray cat? A malnourished kitten has been hanging around my yard and alley lately.

He never gets close enough for me to touch him; because of rat problems in the neighborhood, I can't lure him with food. So I decided that perhaps a live trap might work.

But I'm really nervous that I'll inadvertantly trap animals besides this cat, like rats or possums (shudder shudder shudder). Have any of you ever done this before? If you do catch vermin, how best to dispose of them?
posted by Sully6 to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)

No need to trap kitty yourself if the local Humane Society is willing come out and catch her with a snag stick/control stick. Basically, it has a large wire/cable noose coming out of the end. You loop it over the animal's head from afar, and then you twist the stick to tighten the noose and capture the animal humanely.
posted by evariste at 2:27 PM on August 5, 2005

Ah, here it is!
posted by evariste at 2:31 PM on August 5, 2005

If you want specific advice from an expert, I'd leave a comment for Jodi at Strayer (formerly Cat Trappers Journal). She does this every day.
posted by frykitty at 2:32 PM on August 5, 2005

They also have a product specifically for stray cats.

Both are pricey, but the Humane Society will already have the equipment so your best bet is to ask them to come out.
posted by evariste at 2:33 PM on August 5, 2005

Controlling Stray Cats with Heart

I've found that it is much easier to control Stray Cats with Cars or Rick Springfield myself, but hey, whatever works.

Seriously, I would second the humane society tip if you are afraid of possums. Rats wouldn't be heavy enough for larger trap, but they might steal your bait. Your local animal control can probably take away any caught vermin, if you don't wish to do it yourself.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:37 PM on August 5, 2005

Response by poster: Well, I've tried contacting the city's animal welfare department several times. They do trap for strays but it's been a month and no one has ever stopped by. I'm guessing cats aren't their top priority.

Most of the shelters in Chicago do not trap but take trapped animals in from the AW department. Our Anti-Cruelty Society became a no-kill shelter last year, so they have stopped dealing with strays at all and will only take in animals that their owners relinquish.

I have used the Havahart traps before, when I had a squirrel problem last December, and that's what I was planning on getting. I had no problem catching only squirrels with those traps, but the traps were smaller than what I'd need for the cat and my neighborhood wasn't in the midst of a rat infestation, which it is now.

Pollomacho, thanks for making me chortle. Loudly. Several times.

Frykitty, thanks for the resource. I'll definitely get in touch with her.
posted by Sully6 at 2:51 PM on August 5, 2005

I agree with evariste. Call your local animal control agency
posted by winston at 4:51 PM on August 5, 2005

Local animal control is the best option, but do you happen to know one of those people that animals just trust? There are people who can sit calmly for 10 min. or an hour, whatever is needed, and most cats will just come up to them.
posted by QIbHom at 10:53 AM on August 6, 2005

Well, I have some experience in this area.

Same situation. Skinny, starving kitten hanging around outside, yowling. Me, too nice for my own good.

What I should have done: put cat food in cat carrier, sprinkle trail of cat food up to carrier, wait for kitten to enter, shut door to cat carrier. Mission accomplished!

What I actually did: sprinkle trail of cat food up to dish, wait for kitten to eat from dish, slowly sneak up on hungry kitten while it's eating, grab it suddenly by the back of its neck "so it wouldn't be able to bite me".

Guess what, wild cats are really limber. Also, both their teeth and claws are extraordinarily sharp. Also, they have none of the social inhibitions about using those weapons that socialized cats have.

Picture the situation: cat has all four canine teeth sunk deep into my thumb and it's working its jaw as hard as it can. Every time it bites down (roughly twice per second) I can feel those teeth going deeper and deeper. All four sets of claws are going full speed. I'm thinking, if I let this cat go, I'm going to have to get a full set of rabies shots, while if I hold onto it (and it doesn't start frothing in a few days), I can avoid that. So I hold onto it.

Oh, man, did that ever hurt. And you know, puncture wounds do not heal quickly, no sir. My hands hurts just thinking about it.

So, I'd like to emphasize: don't do what Donny Don't does. Wild cats do not like you. They do not appreciate being touched, not even if you feed them.
posted by jellicle at 8:13 PM on August 6, 2005

Response by poster: On the off chance anyone is still checking, I caught the cat this morning using a Havaheart trap. There were complications. The cat freaked while in the trap and befouled himself. It was really pretty nasty.

I released him into what I thought was an enclosed area in my basement. However, he found a crack in the wall and got into the crawlspace. So now I have a freaked-out cat with mudbutt hiding in my wall.

I'm hoping to coax him out with food. Barring that, I'll have to trap him again. Poor guy.
posted by Sully6 at 9:58 AM on August 8, 2005

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