Trapping Tips


When trapping, the cat’s welfare is the number one priority. It doesn’t matter if they’re domesticated, wild or feral, the cats welfare should always comes first.

1. Identify your target animals and ensure they’re not owned. If there is any chance that they’re owned, find out first – talk to your neighbours and utilise social media before you do anything.

2. Have a plan. Talk to a shelter or rescue before you start trapping and make sure you’ve got somewhere for that animal to go. Some organisations might not have the resources to help right now, others will. No vet or organisation will allow you to drop in whenever you like and not many are able to prioritise you, so please make sure you know how their intake process works. Also, please do not expect rescues to drop everything and take on an unknown cat last minute. For us, everything is by enquiry.

3. Prioritise welfare. The welfare of the animal should be your top priority when trapping. When you borrow a trap from an organisation they’ll run you through all of your obligations and help you set yourself up to be successful. The random recommendated stranger who happens to have a trap that they lend out isn’t going to do that, nor are they going to provide somewhere for that animal to go if possible. A cat can legally only be in a trap for 12 hours maximum so you will NEED a plan, and ethically no cat should be released if it is injured, you must follow up with a vet.

4. Trap smart. Be efficient – a cat trap is of no use if it’s not set, and you’re disadvantaging other people if you’re waiting around for the ‘perfect moment’. Most importantly, please don’t do anything that is going to put yourself, other animals or anybody else at risk. For example improper handling of the trap or animal itself, leaving the trap unattended (if in public), or not checking the trap often enough. Be prepared – you could trap domestic cats of the neighbourhood, hedgehogs, possums, small dogs or the least thing you may expect – another wild or feral cat. You must plan around this! Back to our earlier comment – you ethically and morally should not release any injured cat, feral or domesticated. Contact your local spca or vet and ask them to help and make a plan to release the cat back to the area if possible. Preferably desexed, vaccinated, fiv tested (hopefully negivate) and ear tipped or microchipped.

And last but not least, please always remember to return your rented/hired or borrowed trap.

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Always keep the trap as covered as possible.

Never trap in bad weather.

Use the smelliest food possible – tuna, sardines, cooked chicken or KFC is a big hit.

Have a trapping schedule. Trapping at night or very early morning is typically the best time to trap. Cats need to be hungry to get the courage to go into a trap, but if the cat you want to trap becomes too hungry from being unfed it may wander off. We recommend 3 to 5 days continuous trapping with 1-3 days off in between to free feed again so the cat doesn’t disappear.

Lay cardboard flat in the trap if possible. You can also add blankets for extra comfort and to help minimise damage in case the cat injures its nose or face trying to push its way out – but do ensure these won’t get stuck in the trigger plate which will stop the trap door from closing.

Know your local council bylaws with the type of animal you are trapping as some councils have specific rules and laws around feral cats/animals.

Be courteous and tell your neighbours and neighbourhood that you are trapping and on what dates and times. It may also help you with trapping if they’re able to keep their cats indoors so you don’t trap other owned cats.

NEVER EVER leave any traps unattended if you are trapping in public.

Traps rely on balance, so you must trap on a flat surface. Trapping on hills etc is possible given the trap can be flat on the ground and ensured it won’t slip.

Sightings are key. Obtain a trail camera if possible. This will help immensely with trapping and help you to identify the animals in the area.

If no luck trapping anything by day 4 or 5, move your trap/s around, but don’t be afraid to try the same spot again. Ask neighbours if you can trap on their property and don’t be afraid to expand your trapping area given it’s safe or possible to do so.

Patience and perseverance. Don’t give up.