How to Trap a Cat In 6 Simple & Quick Steps

How-To-Trap-A-Lost-CatIf your cat has been missing for several days and you believe she is nearby, it may be time to consider trapping. At this point you may have seen evidence that she’s been around, or maybe witnesses have seen her. Though you’ve searched on foot, called to her and left out food, you’ve found that she will not come to you and therefore must be trapped.

The first step is to decide which type of trap you will use.


1. Decide What Trap To Use

Home-Made-Cat-Trap1) House Trap: A House Trap, simply put, is where you open a section of your house, using it as a trap. If your cat is an indoor-only cat, there is a good chance a House Trap will get her back without the trauma of using a cage trap. If you know which door or window your cat escaped through, start there. Open the door enough for your cat to enter, securing it with a doorstop or equivalent. Then, you’ll want to set up a kitty buffet inside. If you find that your cat is visiting for food but is not staying home, try setting up a baby monitor or camera to determine when she is there. Approach the door quietly from the OUTSIDE of your house when she is there, and shut the door. If this method does not work, the next step is to use a cage trap.

2) Live Animal Cage Trap: These traps are designed to trap animals and hold them unharmed. There are several brands available, and they vary in design. Havahart, Tomahawk, and Tru-Catch are examples of humane trap manufacturers. Check with your local feed store for availability, or order them on-line. You may be able to borrow or rent a cage trap from your animal control officer or local shelter or rescue group.

Once you decide which type of trap you will use and you are ready to prepare it, consider the following pointers, compiled from several cat-trapping experts:


2. Prepare Cat for Ideal Trapping Conditions

No-Cat-FoodDon’t put food out for 24 hours before trapping. Continue to provide fresh water, but it’s important to withhold the food for a day so your cat will be hungry when you set the trap.


3. Prepare Your Trap

Prepare-Cat-TrapStart Trapping. Use canned tuna, or other stinky fish as bait. Put a spoonful of food in the very back. Neighborhood Cats, a feral cat group, recommends drizzling liquid from the canned tuna or other bait along the trap toward the entrance in a zigzag pattern. Along the way, place tiny bits of food, but not enough to “fill up” the cat. The goal is to entice the cat into the back of the trap, without providing enough food close to the entrance to satisfy her. When the cat follows the zigzag pattern into the trap, it should spring the trap door to close.


4. Set Your Trap

How-to-Trap-Missing-CatPlace the trap on a flat or stable surface. If the surface is uneven, it may scare your cat when she first touches the entrance, or set the trap off prematurely.

Set the trap, and leave the area. Set up a baby monitor or video camera to view the trap from a distance if you cannot see the trap from where you are waiting. You should be far enough away so you’re not seen, heard, or smelled by the cat, yet close enough to approach soon after the cat is trapped. Make sure the cat is not sitting in the trap for very long, 30 minutes at most.


5. Once Your Cat is Trapped

Cover the trap with a towel or cloth. Once your cat is trapped, cover the trap with a towel or cloth. The idea here is to calm the cat by taking away visual stimuli and give a sense of security by enclosing it.


6. Post Recovery Care for Your Cat

Post-recovery care of your cat. Once you return home with your found cat, you’ll want to release her into a small, contained room, and begin post recovery care of your cat. Be sure to start this process by calling or visiting your vet for specific instructions.


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