Part of Ireland's TNR Manual
How to Help Community Cats
Other than traps you'll need a few essentials for TNR. Not all of the following equipment is essential - but it can be very useful.
Hospital Cage: Designed for easy transfer from the trap, easy access to and plenty room for litter tray and food bowls, easy to restrict your feral while you change food and litter - this cage is the Best Practice option for housing cats post-trapping and post-surgery. First there is an end door to facilitate transfer of the cat from a trap, trap transfer basket or restraining basket; then once safely installed the cat can be confined to one half of the basket, by means of a divider panel, whilst the other half is cleaned - the top opening is divided for this reason. These features eliminate the need for any contact between the cat and the attendant so that both can remain calm and safe at all times. The basket is spacious and can accommodate a litter tray and food.
Queens Cage: An excellent cage for transport and/or separation. Has top opening and back sliding doors, the latter for easy transfer to and from traps and/or hospital cage. Provides a means for isolating the queen from her litter in the event of the need for veterinary treatment or cleaning.
Our favourite version of this cage comes with a removable floor panel, turning it into a Dropover Basket - a unique system for removing difficult cats from their cages. This simple to use device eliminates all the struggling, stress and upset that was previously associated with trying to entrap an animal. With the floor removed, the basket can be dropped over the cat, and the floor slides in under her. Voila! One safely contained cat.
Crush Cage: Crush cages come in various sizes and have a restraining panel to hold the cat still, so that an injection can be administered. They are essential for vet staff working with feral cats. These should not be essential for trappers unless your vet doesn't own one.
Kitten Cage: Absolutely not essential, but kinda fun, designed to hold one small kitten. For use when you come across small kittens but can't catch mum - place this wee basket, complete with kitten, in the trap to encourage mum to enter. Note: Best used with a Manual Trap.
Cat Trap Cover: Again, absolutely not essential. It's a close fitting cover for the traps. Manufactured trap covers are usually durable, washable, waterproof and fit traps well. Covering the trap nearly always calms the stressed, cat down and should be done as soon as the cat is trapped. But a large, thick blanket is good enough when funding doesn't stretch to luxuries like this. Traps can also be covered when set, but will put some cats off entering the trap.
Isolator: Aka Cat Trap Comb/Catacomb/Trap Divider. This looks like a large pick (or comb). The isolator is inserted into the top of a trap or cage to force the cat into a small portion of the cage for anaesthesia, food and water changes and/or cleaning the trap. (This device can be used in place of a crush cage.)
Trap ID System: Another luxury purchase for some. For labelling cages with trapper details. Most organisations make their own, but manufactured IDs can be more durable, and possibly worth the money in the longer term.