Since 1990, Alley Cat Allies has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals and local organizations worldwide improve the lives of feral cats by providing guidance on how to implement Trap-Neuter-Return, and educating communities about the benefits of the program. This guide will show you how easy it is to help cats in your community. Armed with your new knowledge, you will be able to join thousands of other people working to improve the lives of feral cats!
Only use a humane box trap to trap a feral cat. Never use darts or tranquilizers to attempt to catch a cat.
These methods are dangerous and stressful to the cats. Nets are also not recommended for the same reasons. Refer to the equipment list on the Alley Cats website for recommended box trap models.
NEVER attempt to pick up a feral cat, particularly to put her in a carrier or trap.
No matter how sweet she seems, handling a cat who has never—or not recently—been touched will frighten and stress her. She may struggle to get away and harm you in the process. With no vaccination records, she is bound to be killed or put into quarantine. Use the correct trapping practices outlined below and ensure the safety of both you and the cat.
Keep in mind that your trapping will be most effective if you employ targeted trapping.
Learn more about targeted trapping on the Alley Cats website, a trapping approach that allows for complete results.
Feral cats are fearful of people in general.
This fact should influence every choice you make when trapping. They may feel even more frightened and threatened when faced with a new experience, like being trapped and transported to a veterinarian. This is true for cats who normally act docile around their caregivers as well. Feral cats will not communicate their needs (if they are hurt, in pain, or frightened). Instead, they will thrash about when in their carriers or they may simply “shut down.” It is essential that you stay quiet, calm, and conscious of the cats’ well-being during your trapping ventures.
No trapping effort is exactly the same.
A colony’s location—a college campus, a warehouse, a farm, an alley, a small business parking lot— will have unique elements for you to consider. Use your discretion to determine any additional steps to those provided in this guide, and tailor the basics to fit your colony’s situation. For instance, you may need to work with college administrators, connect with other caregivers, or ensure you have enough traps and vehicles for a large colony.
Familiarize yourself with the Trap-Neuter-Return process and plan your trapping day in advance. Throughout all of your trapping endeavors, plan ahead to ensure the safety and well-being of the cats and reduce your own stress.