Friday, March 20, 2009

Feral Cats - Handling 101

When you're out trapping feral cats for the first time, the last thought you often have is ... how do you get it out of the trap? Well, at least it was for me!

When I first started trapping for the TNR program, I was pretty clueless and since we haven't many active volunteers in the area, I was sort of encouraged to learn as I go. Sure, there were people always willing to pick up the phone and talk you through something, but when it comes down to having someone go out and actually show you? THAT'S not going to happen! Talk is cheap.
See this cute picture of Sylvester? Don't expect ANY ferals you catch to be like him (if they are than the cat is NOT feral - it is simply a stray)! Note that I will do a Feral Cats vs. Stray Cats - Identification post later this weekend for those who are still confused.
Have you ever seen the Looney Tunes where Sylvester drinks the tonic in a laboratory in the episode called "Dr. Jerkyl's Hide"?? THAT's what a feral cat is like. (See pic below to the right) I don't know about you, but there was NO WAY I was sticking MY hands in there!

So, once you have successfully trapped a snarling, rolling feral cat ... what do you do? I don't mean the shy ones, or the quiet ones. I mean the real feral ones where the trap actually rolls along the ground because they are just that strong and just that wigged out.

I did the only thing I could think of - I put a blanket down in my vehicle and put the entire live animal trap with the cat in it in! I took him to my house where I proceeded to move him from the trap to a crate/carrier. I thought a contained area would be best. For this particular cat / situation ... that was likely the best choice.
So what you do is you put the two openings up to each other - end to end - than you cover both with blankets and open the doors. If the cat doesn't move from one side to the other, you remove the blankets from the trap (while leaving them on the crate). The cat will go into the crate because it will be looking for a safe place.

Voila! That's how you get it out of the trap. Beware the crazy cats as described above and pictured to the right ... they can be dangerous!

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