Hard to Trap Cats – Tips and Tricks
These guidelines may help catch that wily genius cat that won’t go in the trap. The key thing however is PATIENCE. Eventually, you will catch this tricky feline.
- If possible, get the cats used to being fed at the same place and time of day. Trap at the same time and place that you have been feeding.
- Bushes or other camouflage will make the cat feel more trusting of the trap. Leaves and vines from the cat’s environment can be woven into the wire of the trap to make a hard-to-trap cat let down her/his guard enough to enter the trap.
- Use smelly food to bait the trap; e.g. canned mackerel, people-tuna (in water, not oil), or warm chicken.
- If possible, avoid feeding close to trapping time- the cats must be hungry to go inside the trap to eat! You can even skip the feeding previous to trapping night, without seriously distressing the cat.
- Cover or uncover the trap (depending on what didn’t work). For example, if an uncovered trap did not work, cover the trap with a large towel or piece of towel-sized material DURING TRAPPING, leaving the end of the trap exposed where the cat should enter. The cover will help to camouflage the trap.
- Dribble a few tiny tidbits of food or juice in a trail leading into the trap.
- Spoon a small amount of food onto a scrap of newspaper, and position this on the ground where the rear of the trap will be placed. Press the rear of the trap (area behind the trip plate) down onto the food and squish the food up through the wire. As the cat works at the food, he/she will trip the door.
- Train the cat to eat in the trap: leave the trap fully open for several days and feed the cat in the fully open trap. This can be done by typing off the trap door and leaving it in the permanently open position. Let the cat eat and come and go freely so that he gets used to going in and out of the trap. Then when ready, trap for real.
- Note that during the non-set period, remove the back door completely, (1) so accidents don’t happen and the cat gets caught when the trap isn’t being monitored, and (2) so no one can steal a completely and immediately operable trap.
- Some catnip in the trap during the unset period adds to the attraction!
- Place food progressively closer and closer to the trap. After each successful feeding, move the food a few inches closer the trap, eventually just inside the door (but in front of the trip mechanism). When you are ready to trap for real, place food far inside as usual.
- Selective trapping:
- If you have lots of kittens that are huddling around the door and are worried about one getting hurt when the trap,
- Or, you only want one cat, and other already neutered cats keep going in the trap and getting caught
- Or you have been training the cats to eat in the trap and the cat you want won’t trust the trap unless it sees another one eat inside first
Use a Drop Trap: If the cat has been trapped before, or has seen other cats get trapped and will not go near a conventional trap try Drop Trap.
Use a “Pull Stick” : Get a stick the height of the trap door, and tie a long string to it. Use this to prop the door open instead of the normal trapping mechanism, and put a large quantity of food in the trap, so multiple cats can come and go, still leaving food for the one you want. Then hide where you can see the trap, and pull the string to close pull the stick out of the way of the door, so the trap closes, only when the cat you want is fully inside the trap, and no other cats are at the door where they will get hurt.
For more information on special tools see our Special Equipment page!