Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Trapping 101 - Don't catch the striped ones

I'm relatively new at trapping cats. In fact - I've never done it. I have handled many stray and feral cats during my time working at a vet clinic and even some during my work at the Humane Society, but I've never been the one doing the trapping. Because of this, it is quite a big learning curve for me!

For any of you who are also trying to help, I thought I'd post some Trapping 101 Tips / Rules so you don't have to deal with some of the things I have had to deal with. Maybe you could learn from my mistakes!

If you know where the cats are, you just set the trap and come back the next day, right? Well, that's the easiest way to do it; but also the most dangerous. Here's the thing ... I have found that if you leave a trap over night, bad things may happen ...

"What could be bad?" You may be asking ... Well, you never know who or what you'll catch!

You may get a cat, yes. Or, you may get a black and white furry creature that looks an awful lot like a smelly striped cat ... until it starts its "dance".

Did you know that skunks have a little warning dance they do before they spray? Basically they stomp their feet and if you still don't go away, than they turn away from you (still stomping) and lift their tail ... if you still don't get the "hint" than you are ... well, sprayed.

If you leave a trap over night you never know who you will catch. Please remember that here in Ontario it is illegal for anyone without a valid Wildlife Rehabilitator Permit to keep a wild animal for more than 24 hours - you may want to check with your local province/state regulations to see what their laws are about wildlife. I don't even think it's legal to trap wildlife without said permit, but I'm not sure on that one - and my trapping was an accident.

So how do you extract a skunk from a live animal trap? VERY CAREFULLY!

The best way I found (keeping in mind that I only had to do this once - I learned my lesson PDQ) was to hold a big blanket in front of you and approach the trap from the direction furthest away from the door. Drape the blanket CAREFULLY and SLOWLY over the trap so not to startle the skunk.

Then, lean over the trap and open the door from the side opposite to the one he will come out of. That way, if he turns to you to pay you for the lodging over night, you are able to graciously back away and thank him for spending the night, but let him know that you aren't interested in any payment.

If at any time your new skunk friend has had enough play time with you and wants you to get out of there quick ... I'd listen. If you don't listen ... RUN ... RUN FAST and don't look back until you're way outta sight.

Or at least, don't come visit with me for tea later, ok? Wait until after your tomatoe juice bath.


OldMorgans said...

I think this blog has a future. I'll be reading for sure.

GoLightly said...

Yeah, I learned that too, oops there's another post.
I HATE black backgrounds on blogs.

Hard on these old eyes..
whine over..

Rebecca said...

Haha, I've never been involved with the trapping portion before, so I never thought about such a situation. Funny stuff.

Except that one time when I was a kid and there was a injured stray kitty momma running around the neighborhood. She'd recently had kittens and got mauled by a rottie owned by a jerk down the road (don't get me started, he used to grab me by the leg and drag me off my bike!). Set out several humane traps in her usual haunts, only ever managed to catch every single non-stray cat in the neighborhood. *Rolleyes*

I don't know what ever happened to her either, except that she kept moving the kittens. I actually suspect that my dad called Animal Control about the poor girl and they managed to trap her. Hope she made it. :(

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Thanks for the comments.

OldMorgans - I do hope I live up to that expectation :)

GoLightly - is this colour better? I was finding it hard with the black background too. Back to the good ol' tried and true.

Rebecca - that's in interesting story. I think you may have seen more non-strays in the traps because the cats that are pets are often more bold and less careful about those sorts of things. Keeping in mind that even if you had trapped her, if you didn't know where the kittens were ... well, they wouldn't have been fed. It may have been for the best?

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