MiniMo is the last cat remaining from our colony, but it took trapping, neutering, and cat care to control our population. The first thing we had to do was trap cats.
The feral cats on our property were accustomed to dry food. They liked it fine and came running when we shook food in a cup, but we thought we’d have better luck enticing them into a trap with something more special than their regular fare. We had traps on order. While we waited on delivery we got a few cans of wet cat food and began a program of evening snacks. It didn’t take long before they eagerly awaited their late afternoon party.
We also prepared a recovery room in the back half of an old shed. With a few weeks of work we put up a new wall and door. After insulating and rewiring we installed a window unit air conditioner. Although initially designed as a feline ICU, it makes a small workshop when it is unoccupied.
Our traps arrived and the big day came. Loretta baited a trap with wet food, took it into the yard, and retreated inside. Several cats examined the strange new object and Jackson took a bold step into the trap. The door closed softly and he continued eating, unaware that his days as a man-about-town were about to end. He realized he was caught when we came to collect the trap, but he quickly calmed down after we covered the trap with a sheet and brought him into the shed. We trapped one other cat that same evening, and after a last meal we left both of them with water only to await the morning trip to the spay/neuter clinic.
We became regular clinic customers for months, typically bringing in two cats each Monday morning and picking them up Monday afternoon. After recovery time in the shed they were released into the yard, apparently no worse for the experience and sporting a tipped ear as an “I’ve been fixed” sign.
The last cats we trapped required extra effort. When the traps were not in use we left them in the yard, sometimes baited with a little dry food so those cats would get used to seeing them. I’ll describe the full system we used for the trap-shy cats next week.
- Feral Cat Fridays: MiniMo Marches On
- Cat Trapping 101: Practice Test