Trapping Tips

  1. Establish a regular feeding schedule several weeks prior to trapping. The cats will quickly learn to arrive at a designated time for meals. This is the single most important factor in trapping success.
  2. Place the trap (Safeguard is our preferred brand of trap) at the feeding area along a wall, fence or bush. You can purchase these traps online at or  Zip tie the trap door open so the cats can go in and out of the trap without the door closing.  You may also remove the back door.  Doing this will increase your success when actually trapping because the cat will be used to going inside the trap for food.
  3. You may also line the trap with newspaper as many cats do not like walking on the wire. Fold the newspaper to fit the trap and make sure it does not interfere with the trap door closing. Extend the trip plate by taping cardboard 12-18″ inches long and about ½ inch narrower than the inside width of the trap.
  4. Withhold food for at least 24-48 hours before trapping. This will ensure that the cats are very hungry and willing to enter the trap in search of food.
  5. Bait the trap with tuna, salmon, mackerel or sardines in oil, meat baby food or cooked chicken. Smelly canned cat food may be used. Do not leave the actual can of food inside the trap, since the cat can cut its face and paws on the can.  Make sure to place the food behind the treadle which they must step on in order for the trap to close. Hang a piece of cooked chicken from a string above the trigger plate. To avoid a mess in the trap, you can place the food on a small paper plate and set the trap on top of the plate so the food oozes through the wires.
  6. Drip a “trail” of the juice from the can of food you are using to bait the trap, leading into the trap.
  7. Cover the trap with a towel so that it appears more like a box than a trap. Disguise the trap so that it blends in with its surroundings.  You can hide the trap under a bush, under a leaning piece of wood, or in a box so the cat feels like he is entering a dark hole. Or try covering the sides with branches, leaves, camouflage material, burlap or other natural materials.  Try wiping the trap with fresh catnip or sardine oil. Always leave trap covers outdoors to lose the human scent. 
  8. Catnip and Valerian are two herbs that entice cats. You can buy valerian at a health food store, boil it and add the broth to the bait.  An added benefit is that valerian helps reduce stress and anxiety.
  9. Trip the Trap Yourself–You can do this by propping the trap door up with a full water or soda bottle and tying a pull string to it. Tie a long string around the neck of the bottle then stand some distance away. When your cat of choice finally goes in, yank the string, pulling the bottle away and shutting the trap door. Be sure to first practice the method at least once so you get the right feel for it, and wait until the cat is far enough in (up to or past the trip plate) before you pull the string.
  10. DROP TRAPS – The drop trap falls down over a cat (when triggered by you with a rope) eliminating the need for kitty to step into a narrow opening.
  11. If you have already trapped a female cat in heat you can use her to help get the reluctant male OR use the babies to get a stand-offish mom.  Set the traps end to end as in trapping mom cats and kittens and cover the “bait” trap.
  12. Monitor the trap while set–it is best to situate yourself in an area where the cats can’t see you (inside your car or house). Check the traps every 30 minutes. Do not leave a trap unattended.
  13. Once trapped, some cats may panic and thrash about. Place a cover over the trap (a towel or sheet works fine) to calm the cat. You may also spray Feliway pheromone to help calm the cat Do not panic and do not release the cat. It may difficult to trap the cat again that day. Cats may cut or scrape their faces in the trap. These injuries are usually superficial and will not cause permanent damage. Leave the cat in a covered trap for transportation to the vet. Do not let the cat loose in a room or attempt to transfer into a carrier. The cat will be safe and secure in the trap and will be ready for the veterinarian to treat.

Fairchild has a limited number of humane box traps available to loan out.   Traps may be picked up at our monthly clinics, on the 3rd Sunday from Jan-Nov, at the back of The Vet On Main from 11am-1pm.  A check for $50 is required as a deposit.



Safeguard Traps

16-Minute Video on TNR