Trapping Tips for Clients

by Limerick Feral Cats

Practice setting the trap beforehand with someone who is familiar with how it operates. Traps can be fiddly and tricky to figure out! Ensure your trap is clean and disinfected. If the cat detects a smell of the trap’s previous occupant it can be enough to deter them from venturing in.

Ensure the cat is not fed the day before you set the trap. The cat will not chance going into the trap unless they’re hungry. They also need an empty tummy for surgery.

Advise your neighbours when you will be setting the trap and ask them to keep their own cats indoors during this time. Also ask them not to leave out any food. You can put a flyer through the letterbox if they’re not home. (See the Limerick Feral Cats flyer, ‘We’re Helping Feral Cats’.)

Set the trap at the time the cat normally arrives to eat. If the cat doesn’t visit your garden at a regular time, the best time to set the trap is early in the morning, between 6am and 8am. Place the trap on a level surface close to where the cat is usually fed.

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Lay a short trail of very tiny morsels of food from just outside the trap, through the door of the trap and as far as the step plate. This is only to entice the cat into the trap. Be very careful of using too much food or the cat will be satiated before they get far enough into the trap for the step plate to go off. Put the biggest portion of food at the very end of the trap, beyond the step plate, so the cat will have to step on the trigger plate to access it.

Cover the far end of the trap with the towel so the cat wastes less time trying to paw the bait out through the bars.

Don’t hover around the trap, trying to entice the cat towards you. They are much too smart and will suspect something’s up! Leave the cat to explore around the trap in peace. Don’t try to rush the situation – be patient and just watch and wait!

Never, ever leave the trap unattended. A trapped cat can injure themselves in their panic to escape. You have to be close at hand to immediately fully cover the trap once the cat is caught. The cats are calmed and feel far less vulnerable once the trap is covered over. The trap must be supervised constantly so it’s not stolen or interfered with, especially once the cat is inside. The cat could be terrorised by a dog, or by someone hostile.

Transfer the trapped cat to your car as quickly as possible. Don’t attempt to soothe the cat by talking to it. Feral cats are terrified of people and your voice will only stress it more. Resist the urge to peek at the cat because feral cats find human eye contact extremely threatening. Gently place the trap on a black plastic rubbish bag topped with newspaper, to absorb any pee, as the cat may wet themselves in fright. Bring the cat to the vet as soon as possible.