Trap-Neuter-Return improves the lives of feral cats and makes them better neighbors
Bethesda, MD (Vocus) September 8, 2009
Alley Cat Allies, the national advocate for stray and feral cats, today offered best-practice tips for safe, humane cat trapping as part of a Trap-Neuter-Return program.
"Trap-Neuter-Return improves the lives of feral cats and makes them better neighbors," said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. "It stops the breeding cycle and ends behaviors associated with mating, like yowling and roaming. It is the best course of action for feral cats, who are not socialized to people and can't be adopted into homes. First-time trappers may be a bit apprehensive about the process, but it's actually quite simple and safe, as long as you follow some basic steps."
The following are guidelines for humane trapping. More detailed instructions can be found at http://www.alleycat.org/Trap-Neuter-Return.
Set a feeding schedule. Feed the cats at the same time and place every day for one to two weeks. Withhold food for 24 hours before you intend to trap. Always continue to provide water.
Make veterinary appointments ahead of time. Before your trapping day, call and make reservations with a veterinarian or neuter clinic experienced with feral cats. Ensure you are able to cancel this appointment without penalty if your trapping is unsuccessful that day.
Practice, practice, practice. Practice setting the trap ahead of time. There are several models, some with removable backdoors or with different latching systems. View directions for traps online at http://www.alleycat.org/Traps.
Prepare the traps. Prepare traps away from the trap site so you do not disturb the cats. Line the bottom with newspaper, folded to fit the size of the trap. Place about a tablespoon of tuna at the back of the trap and drizzle a trail of oil and very small bits of tuna leading to the front of the trap. Tag each trap with its location so you can return the cats to the same place later.
Set the traps. Place the traps on level ground and remove any twigs and debris around the trap. Set them and place a towel over the back half of each trap. Never leave traps unattended. Watch from a distance so you won't intimidate the cats.
Cover the traps once they are sprung. Once a cat enters a trap, cover it entirely with a large towel or sheet before moving it to help to keep the cat calm. Take the trap to your vehicle for their neuter appointments. Cats should never be transported in trunks or in the beds of trucks.
Return the cats to their outdoor home. Cats can usually be returned 24 hours after surgery. Lactating mothers should be returned sooner to rejoin their kittens. Make sure to clean the traps with a non-toxic disinfectant before reusing them.
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the nation's leading advocate for stray and feral cats. Their website is http://www.alleycat.org.