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Community/Feral Cat Trapping Guide

A.   Pre-trapping prep

  1. Ask the property owners for permission to traps and to leave traps until trapping is done. If traps are going to be in public view, we have signs you can place near the traps asking people to leave them alone. Ask your Trapping Guru.

  2. If the colony is being fed by you or someone else, the day(s) of trapping LEAVE NO FOOD.  Water is fine.

  3. Trap only Sunday through Wednesday nights or Monday through Thursday mornings.  LifeLine does NOT open on Friday-Sunday.  BE SURE TO CHECK THE LIFELINE CALENDAR to make sure they have space available:  go to: 

  4.  You are allowed to bring in TWO FERAL KITTIES per person to LifeLine.  If you have trapped six cats, you will need 3 transporters.  Discuss this with your Trapping Guru in advance.

  5. Try if you can to avoid trapping in wet or very cold weather.  If necessary, have a contractor-sized trash bag to cover the trap (and something heavy like a board or brick(s) to put on top to hold the covering down.)

  6. Try to locate the trap(s) in a sheltered area and out of sight, again, if possible. They should be near where their food is normally found.

B.    Setting the traps

  1. Take with you:  Newspaper, paper plates, sardines or other stinky food, traps, paper towels (for you!), large towels or small blankets.

  2. Open trap.  Your Trapping Guru will show you how as they are all a little different.

  3. Place folded newspaper in trap, just at entrance. You will use the newspaper to shove the sardines/plate to the back as if you were shoving pizza in an oven!

  4. Place sardines in plate.  If trapping at night you can be generous.  If trapping in the morning, just a small serving as they are not supposed to eat before surgery. 

  5. Place plate on newspaper in trap, just past the trip plate mechanism. 

  6. Drape towel over trap.  Do not touch or block trip wire with towel.

  7. If trapping in the morning, stick around, or go have coffee and come back or watch from a distance. Remember LifeLine’s hours! 

C.    Checking the results


  1. Be ready to transport trapped kitties to LifeLine.  They are open for arrivals between 7:30 AM and 9 AM.   Double check hours before going.  It might only vary ½ hour or so in the morning. Do not be late!  Have a blanket or tarp or newspapers to place trapped kitties on in your car.  Sometimes there is pee/poo to deal with and you don’t want it in your car.   Leave in car for pickup in the afternoon (unless soiled, of course.

  2. When carrying a trap with a cat in it, always carry it like you would carry a hand on each end.  Do not carry it by the handle.

  3. Be sure the trapped cats are not already fixed, i.e., they do NOT have a tipped (left) ear! If they are eartipped, release them.  If you have a lactating Mom kitty or kittens UNDER two pounds, they must be released.  Re-trap when the kittens are 8 weeks/2 pounds each.

  4. If you have trapped a possum, raccoon, etc., face the opening of the trap away from you and towards an escape area (lawn, woods, etc., NOT STREET) and open the trap. You may have to tilt the trap to get your friend to get out.

  5. Remove food from the traps that did not trap a cat and close the trap door.  If owner is OK with leaving trap (store away from prying eyes), fine.  If not, schlep it home and bring it back for round 2. 

  6. Feed untrapped kitties.  Do not feed trapped kitties or open traps!

  7. Begin thinking of a name for each kitty.  Think of a friend, people you know, family, other kitties you know, etc.  We keep the records so be creative but not bizarre. 

C.    Transporting the trapped cat(s) and arrival at LifeLine

  1. Immediately upon arrival at LifeLine, bring cat(s) inside and fill out one form (Feral or Community Cat) per cat.   During the pandemic, they are providing 'curb service.'

  2. Do indicate on the form that you are working with Tri Cities Friends of Kitties.  You will have already discussed payment with your Trapping Guru.   

  3. The cats will be neutered, and will be given a Rabies vaccination and FVCRP (distemper) vaccination.  No other services are needed.

  4. If you have noticed a problem area on Kitty (cut, wound, etc.) ask on the form to have it looked at.  Indicate on the form that a shot of Convenia (if needed) is OK.  It’s an extra $$ but if needed, that's fine.  If further vet services are needed, discuss it with us.  LifeLine does not provide vet services. 

D.    Pickup from LifeLine and recuperation overnight

  1. Generally, the kitties are ready around 4.  You must arrive before 5 PM.  If for any reason you cannot pick up, please pre-arrange it with your Trapping Guru.  If it’s an emergency change and you cannot pick up, please post it on our Facebook page and use the CONTACT button above to email us. 

  2. Get paperwork from LifeLine and give to your Trapping Guru. Shooting a photo of the full first page is fine, and text it to your Guru or to Curt.

  3. Transport kitty to a safe place to recuperate overnight.  It does not have to be indoors.  Just a safe, sheltered place.  He/she must be kept overnight, with the trap covered with blanket.  

  4. Have some wet food and water (if possible) for the recuperating kitty.  

  5. Be VERY CAREFUL when opening the trap SLIGHTLY to shove food in.  If you cannot or do not wish to risk it, it may sound awful but if you push the food into the trap from the top, squishing it through the wire, it’ll be fine.

  6. Kitty may pee/poo in the trap.  Remember it’s been 24 hours.  This is just a fact of life.  I’ve not had one yet who messed him/herself.  They generally stay away from it.  Kitty will survive! I promise. 

  7. Place the kitty-laden trap off the ground on top of something such as a pallet, bricks, boards, etc. (Any poo/pee during the night will fall through the bottom rather than pool inside the trap.)

  8. Monitor kitty and if you notice blood (active bleeding…sometimes there will be a few drops dried) or any obvious issues, kitty needs to go to a vet.  Union City Animal Hospital has an account for us.   If in doubt, take him/her in, IN THE TRAP.

E.    Release the next morning

  1. Take kitty back to the exact same spot where he/she was trapped.

  2. Set the trap down and wait a couple of minutes, quietly.  Keep trap covered. 

  3. Make sure the opening (the trap door end, or if your trap has an easy back door to open) is facing towards safety (woods, lawn, shelter… AWAY from street!)

  4. Open door and let kitty out.  I’ve not had one yet that didn’t at least saunter away.  Most will run pretty fast. And trust me… they will forgive you!

Congratulations!  Rinse and repeat!  You’re the Guru now!

LifeLine Information:
2533 Sullivan Road
College Park, GA 30337
Monday through Thursday, 7:30 AM to 5 PM

Union City Veterinary Medical Center & Emergency Clinic
6702 Shannon Pkwy., Union City, GA 30291, (770) 964-0700
Please talk to your Trapping Guru before taking kitty to vet.    

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