Last updated: 20 Nov, 2019
Published on: 4 Mar, 2016
How to humanely trap a community cat
Follow the steps below to make trapping your Community Cat as stress-free as possible.
Prepare your vet
Speak to your vet to let them know that you that you will be bringing in a 'semi-owned' cat for a microchip scan, desexing and vaccination. Confirm that only dissolvable sutures will be used, eliminating the need for a follow-up visit to remove stitches. Confirm that the cat may stay with the vet during the recovery period (12 - 24 hours).
To find vets who routinely desex Community Cats, contact the National Desexing Network.
Prepare your trap
Prepare the traps away from the trap site to prevent unfamiliar noises and commotion that could frighten the cat away.
- Test the trap to be sure it's working correctly.
- Line the bottom of the trap with newspaper, to protect the cats' paws. If it is windy, secure the newspaper to the trap with tape so the newspaper will not flap and frighten the cat.
- If you are regularly feeding your Community Cat, skip a meal or two, so the cat is hungry.
- Put food in the trap:
- Place approximately one tablespoon of bait (tuna, sardines, or other strong smelling food - usually the ones in oil work best) on a plastic lid at the very back of the trap, so that the cat will step on the trigger plate while attempting to reach the food.
- Drizzle some juice from the bait in a zigzag pattern along the trap floor toward the entrance.
- Place a tiny bit of food (½ teaspoon) just inside the entrance of the trap to encourage the cat to walk in.
- Do not use too much food as the cat will need to have a relatively empty stomach prior to desexing surgery.
Set the trap
Place a trap on the ground and make certain it is stable and will not rock or tip over. Do not place the trap on a hillside or incline. Place a towel or blanket over part of the trap but don't cover it completely as you'll need to be able to see in.
After the cat has been trapped
Cover the entire trap with a large towel, blanket or sheet before moving it. This will help the cat feel safe and remain calm. Move your trapped cat to a quiet, safe area if you are not able to go to the vet immediately. Remember that a trapped cat will be frightened so don't attempt to pat her in the trap.
Take the cat to a veterinarian or desexing clinic.