Stray Cat Trapping, How to Trap Ferals

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Some people wish to trap and remove feral, or stray, cats. The most common complaints include the following:

  • Stray cats occupying public areas
  • Stray cats around facility dumpsters
  • During mating season, foul musk scent
  • Stray cats fighting or mating loudly
  • People concerned about stray cat population
  • Strays posing a threat to pet cat
Then again, some people simply want to help, and are engaged in TNR, or trap neuter release programs.

Trapping stray cats is a contentious subject, because people love cats as pets. However, for a variety of reasons, people might want to trap cats. I believe that most such people are good at heart, and have honest intentions. Some people want to solve a legitimate problem, some want to trap, neuter, release. I won't judge. Here are some general things to keep in mind:

Use The Correct Trap: You want a large cage trap, usually designated as "raccoon size", which is at least 32" long, and maybe 12" high and 10" wide. Many manufacturers make cage traps of this dimension - the Havahart brand is popular, for example.

Use The Correct Bait: Not too hard here, just use cat food, dry or wet. Of course finicky cats might require tasty wet canned cat food, such as Fancy Feast, the good taste of which is easy to recognize.

Set the Trap Properly: The trap should be clear of debris from the trip pan, and the trip pan tension should be set light. The trap must be on stable ground, and not shake or wobble, or the cat won't go in. If it's cautious, you can line the bottom of the trap with newspaper or cardboard.

Location is Important: Set the trap in a secluded area, so passers by don't gawk. Set it in a place the cats frequent. Set it in the shade, so that the cat won't bake in the sun. Common sense stuff.

Check the Trap Frequently: Don't leave a poor cat suffering in a trap for a long time, especially in very hot or cold conditions. Check the trap often, and transport the cat as soon after capture as possible.

In general, stray cats are not dangerous unless directly handled. Read more about are stray cats dangerous?

An email from someone who DOESN'T WANT cat trapping:
My neighbor uses animal traps to catch domestic cats, he called me and asked if I had a white cat, which I do, I was volunteering at school and couldn't check if it was my cat or not, my cat is microchipped and has all shots. However, it was not my cat, he held the cat until my husband went to identify, and then he took the cat to the pound. We live above a canyon, there is wild life, racoons, rats, cayotes, any type of canyon critter in Kennewick, however, he chooses to trap cats. Is there any law that will keep him from capturing domestic cats? I do not have any empathy for him because of where we live. I have had 15 racoons raid the cat food in the shelter for my cat. I think there must be an easier way to control wild life, but domestic cats? This guy has too much time on his hands. Please answer and inform me of any rights that these domestic critters have, if any. Thank You. Sincerely, Patricia

An email from someone who WANTS cat trapping:
There is a neighbor in the area I live in that has multiple cats - 35 to be exact. My concern is that I am not sure if any of them get vaccinated for rabies on a yearly basis. This concerns me because children live in the neighborhood, and there is the possibility of them escaping. There are also stray cats that roam the area as well. They are fighting at night and causing a significant odor issue in the neighborhood. One of them is pregnant, and they seem to multiply one after another. What can be done about this situation? Is there any legal precedent for me trapping and getting rid of these pests? Can the county do it? This is the address of the house:

Here are some other articles about stray cats:
stray cat removal
how to catch a stray cat
catch neuter release of stray cats
how many stray cats in America
common problems with stray cats
what to do if you find a litter of kittens

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