How to Trap an Entire Colony

What is a Colony?

A feral cat colony is a population (or “clowder”). The term is used primarily when a noticeable population of feral cats live together in a specific location and use a common food source. The term is not typically applied to solitary cats passing through an area. A colony can range from 3-5 cats to about 100 cats.

Members consist of grown females, their young, and some grown males. Unneutered males in a colony fight each other for turf and for females. Some will be driven out to find another place to live.

Tips for Trapping a Colony:

To be most effective with Trap-Neuter-Return, it is always recommended to trap an entire colony at once. This is also known as mass trapping. Done this way, TNR can immediately eliminate new litters being produced rapidly reduce nuisance behavior.

To do a mass trapping, follow the instructions under Trapping, and use these additional tips:

  • Always have at least one trap per cat, and a cover for each trap. Bring extra traps in case of trap malfunction. If you plan to trap 20 cats, bring 25 traps. If you do not have enough traps, you will find yourself having to come back, and cats get wise to trapping very quickly.
  • When making an appointment for spay/neuter, give yourself at least two days to trap all the cats. If possible, arrange emergency vet care for any cats who may be sick or injured and have someone available to take them. Never leave traps unattended.
  • For a mass trapping, you will need an area large enough to handle multiple traps without stacking them. Ideally, a warm, dry, and secure area like a garage or basement will work well. You will want to line this area with plastic and/or newspaper before placing trapped cats on it.
  • Also make sure to have enough vehicles to safely transport traps.
  • Once you are ready, you will want to prepare all the traps at once and place all traps out at once. Immediately cover and remove a trap that has worked. Place a new trap in this hot spot.

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