Our mission is to reduce the number of feral and abandoned house cats in the San Luis Valley of Colorado through vigorous spay/neuter programs and, when possible, assist finding caring homes for kittens and tame cats.
What is a FERAL CAT? A feral cat is born and raised outside with no human contact or is a stray that has lived outside long enough to revert to a wild state. Adult feral cats usually cannot be tamed and are most content living outdoors. Spaying or neutering a feral cat and returning it to its habitat is the most humane way to address the feral cat overpopulation problem. It also happens to be the fastest way to reduce feral cat populations, faster even than removals, which just cause adjacent unfixed cats to move in and breed up.
TRAPPING TIPS The ideal situation is to trap a cat the night before you have them scheduled for surgery to minimize trauma, but you may need to get them accustomed to a new “thing”(the trap) in their environment. So leave it at the trap site, if your site is secure and the trap will not be stolen.
TRAP ANATOMY There are several styles of trap available. All work, but we prefer the TruCatch. Visit the makers website to get the rundown on your particular trap. While getting cats used to a trap, secure the doors open and feed inside the trap. A couple of twist ties securing the door to the top of the trap work well for this and can be easily removed when you are ready to catch the cat.
PREPARE Set the trap up in a somewhat sheltered area where the cats come and go.
MAKE IT ‘COMFY’ Laying a towel or small blanket over the top with just the opening exposed will help make it look like an inviting hiding place.
TRY A LITTLE CAMOFLAGE You can line the trap floor with some newspaper or cardboard to hide the wire mesh and trigger plate, making the cat feel more comfortable going inside. They don’t like walking on bare wire, can you blame them?
DESENSITIZE The trap should be fixed to stay open and a little bit of good, smelly food placed far back inside the trap, behind the trigger plate, for several days or up to a week, until the cats get comfortable going in and out of it.
CHECK YOUR TRAP Once the cat is comfortable going in and out of the trap, remove the twist ties and set the trap. If your trap has a back door, be sure that is well secured with a clip. Leave the trap area for 15 minutes. Come back and check the trap every 15 minutes until you’ve succeeded in trapping a cat. After they have been set, traps should not be left unattended for long periods of time, especially when it is very cold.
IS THE CAT EAR TIPPED? If you have trapped a cat, look carefully at it’s ears. If the tip of the left ear is missing, this cat has already been spayed or neutered and can be released. Do not open the doors to the trap for any reason other than release. These cats are strong and very frightened, they can bolt unexpectedly.
PRE-SURGERY Once you have successfully trapped an unfixed cat, keep the trap covered with the towel or blanket until you can bring it to the vet or clinic where it is to be spayed or neutered. Keep the cat in the trap and place it somewhere safe, such as a garage, porch or shed. Do not feed the cat 12 hours before surgery.
SAFETY FIRST When carrying a trapped cat, hold the trap away from your body and remember to keep the trap covered! Sturdy gloves are a good idea, too.
TRANSPORT TO THE VET It’s a good idea to place a thick layer of newspapers over a tarp or large plastic garbage bag under the trap to protect your vehicle from urine or feces during transport.
WARNING! Never try to touch a feral cat! If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately and report it to local animal control or the police and your CatsAlive! representative.
POST-SURGERY When you get the cat back from the vet after surgery, it is best to keep it in that safe place, inside the covered trap overnight before releasing it back outside. This ensures that the cat has fully recovered from anesthesia and will be able to fend for itself or escape any danger when released.
MORE TRAPPING? Repeat as needed. If you have several cats to trap (more than 3), it may be helpful to borrow and set several traps (with assistance) at once because feral cats can easily become ‘trap savvy’ and will be more and more difficult to trap over time.