Before You Trap:
Plan to use the trap as a feeding station 3-4 days in advance of your surgery date. This helps the cats get accustomed to entering the trap and not being afraid. It is not recommended to use plastic bowls or plates as they can block the door when trapping. You can use a paper plate.
To ready each trap, secure the trap door open with wire, string or a stick. Place a thin layer of newspaper on the bottom. If it gets wet or blows, you can leave the bottom bare.
Start with placing food at the front of the trap on the first day and move the food toward the back of the trap each feeding afterward. We are training the cat not to be afraid to go all the way into the trap the day/evening of trapping.
Twenty-four hours before (or one feeding before) the day/evening of trapping, withhold food. If they are used to being fed and now are hungry, it will increase the success of catching them. Kittens weighing 2-3 lbs will trip the plate and can also be trapped, fixed, and eartipped.
Place a tablespoon of tuna at the very back of the trap through the top of the trap. If you place the food too close to the trip plate, the cat can lean over it rather than step on it. You do not have to use a lot of tuna. You will be feeding them later after trapping them. If your cats are used to a favorite food, you can use that too. Preferably wet food, not dry.
Release the trap door and set the hook which activates the trip plate. Cover trapped cats cages with old sheets or towels and remove them from trapping area so they don’t scare others away. This also helps decrease the stress and settle them down.
The sound of trap doors can scare some cats away. Keep in mind that they are hungry and will come back for food. Sometimes, they will wait until it gets dark which makes them feel safer, so be patient! For tips on catching trap-shy cats, go here.
Never leave traps open overnight or unattended or you will be trapping wildlife such as skunks, opossums, or raccoons. If you do not get all of the cats, close the traps down for the evening and start again in the morning in daylight. The longer the cat goes without food, the greater your chance of success.
The cats can be fed food through the top of the trap. Wet food is preferable because it fulfills the cat’s water requirements enough to eliminate the need for a container of water in the trap. Do not attempt to transfer cats to carriers as they are very fast and will get out. Leave them in the traps until surgery.
Once you have trapped all the cats, keep them in a warm, dry, safe holding area until their neutering/spaying appointment.