How to Make Stray Cat Trapping Successful: Effective Trapping Tips and Techniques

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 9 minutes.
Updated: .

Cat overpopulation is really one of the biggest problems in the United States. A huge number of feral/stray cats are euthanized every year to decrease the cat population.

However you can always trap cats humanely and resolve all the cat problems with the help of well-known Trap-neuter-return program.

Whether you want to trap feral cat using TNR program, or catch the animal to return her home, it’s essential to plan your trapping. Here you will find out how to prepare for a cat catch, how to choose the best bait for your trap and get some tips for purchasing the most convenient trap for catching destructive cats.

Excellent tips on how to catch a stray or noisy feral cat

How to catch stray catsFeral cats can become a huge problem when they start breeding. These critters prey upon a wide range of insects, birds, mammals and reptiles. Cats can also have an indirect adverse impact on livestock and wildlife through the transmission of diseases such as sarcosporidiosis and toxoplasmosis.

There are many cat control methods including poison baiting, exclusion fencing, shooting, trapping and using cat repellents. Although trapping is not very effective for large areas, this tool may be useful and effective in residential or urban areas where cat population has already been reduced or where domestic cats are present.

In the USA the government implements “catch and kill” programs to decrease the cat population.

TNR program schemeThe rate of feral cats’ reproduction is high because only 4% free-roaming, wild cats are neutered or sprayed. This is why TNR program is so popular in the U.S.

The program allows humanely trapping destructive feral cats, having them neutered or sprayed, vaccinating and returning to the cat colony. This non-lethal method is more cost-effective and human than trapping and killing cats.

How TNR works

To catch the cat:

  1. Prepare for trappingPrepare for trapping
    It’s essential to make the proper arrangements to care for the trapped cat when he is in your custody. Plan trapping according to the type of cat you are going to trap.
    Stray cats – plan on locating their home as quickly as possible.
    Feral cats – If you want to trap them with the purpose of neutering, call TNR clinic.
  2. Choose an effective cat trapChoose an effective cat trap
    Select the trap that will be comfortable for the cat especially if you plan taking care of the animal for a few days. Good trap will allow you to clean up messes and deliver food without the cat escaping.
  3. Determine the best location for your trapDetermine the best location for your trap

    Place the cat’s trap on a flat surface with plenty of visibility and shade.

    The best placement includes:

    • The area where you often hear or see the cat.
    • A feeding area where cats have fed on scraps
    • 5 feet outside of cat’s shelter
  4. Choose BaitSelect Bait
    You can choose a food that your neighbors’ cat is used to eating, or choose popular baits for cats – like catnip or oily fish – if you are really not sure what the cat likes to eat.
  5. Set the trapSet and Monitor the Trap
    Set the cat trap according to its manufacture’s instructions. If neglected inside of the trap, a cat can quickly become hungry, thirsty or overheating. Don’t leave a cat trapped for along period of time.
    Most feral cats are part of a cat colony. Therefore they must be released back to that colony. We suggest releasing a cat at a dusk or early in the morning.

Best Live Traps

Now it’s time to choose a good live cat trap. When it comes to cat trapping, purchase Havahart traps which offer different types of models in a range of sizes to cover any specific trapping need.

A live cat trap is the best solution for capturing stray cats.

By choosing the proper trap’s size you can capture nearly any type of nuisance critter.

We suggest buying the following:

  • 5-pics trapping kitFeral cat trap effective rescue kit – ideal all-in-one cat trapping solution to catch and care for destructive stray, neighbors’ and feral cats. This excellent trap is specifically designed for catching noisy feral cats.

    Price: $61.99


    • The mechanism of the trap prevents smaller animals from triggering the trap’s spring-loaded door.
    • The trap is space-saving, convenient and collapsible. The customer can easy collapse the trap and put together when he needs it.

    Features: The trap kit comes with special accessories that make caring for the animal simple. You can feed stray cat without its escaping by inserting the trap divider.
    Safety: Special sturdy handle allows the trapper to hold this working trap away from his or her body. With the help of a solid handle guard and strong doors any person is protected from contact with the trapped animal.

  • Large Havahart One Door Collapsible TrapLarge Havahart One Door Collapsible Trap – made by experts to be the most durable, convenient and effective for trapping heavier creatures like cats.

    Price: $62.99


    • The trap is collapsible.
    • The trap is safe for the trapper and the trapped cat.
    • The trapper doesn’t need to be a pro to operate the trap as it is simple and easy to set up and operate.
  • Large Havahart 1-Door Animal TrapLarge Havahart 1-Door Animal Trap – another reliable and effective Havahart solution for catching cats. Built with premium materials the trap intended to endure unpredictable cat behavior and harsh weather.

    Price: $49.99

  • Large 2-Door Easy, Convenient Set Trap by Havahart – specially designed by trapping professionals. The customer is able to set this 2 trap doors open in a quick motion with just a hand.

    Price: $74.99


    • Easy Set function allows trapper to let cats go without having to touch the doors.
    • Sturdy hardware gives additional security and comfort.
    • No-escape doors make your cat trap much more escape-proof.

Large 2-Door Easy, Convenient Set Trap by Havahart

Easy tips on how to set a cat trap

The main reason why Havahart traps are so popular is the fact that they are very easy to set. You can set the cat trap in one simple step. If it is a 2-door trap, set it either by pulling on the Easy Set lever or set as a one door cat trap by releasing the trap cable and pooling the lever to the open position:

If it is 1 door human trap for catching destructive feral cats, you can set it in the following way:

When it comes to collapsible Havahart traps assembling the trap is easy.

Here is a useful, step-by-step video:

How to make a cat trap by yourself?

Cats – neighbors’, stray or feral – can be a HUGE problem for any homeowner especially when these critters reproduce and carry disease. To crack the problem in a humane way you can capture cats and take them to your local Animal Control. Those who don’t want to purchase often-very-expensive cat traps can make or build a cat trap.

Watch how to do it:

Where can I buy a cat trap?

Cats trapTomahawk, Havahart, Humaneway, Pet Trex – there are many excellent cat traps to choose from.

You can purchase any of them on:

  • Amazon
  • eBay

The traps come in various sizes and prices. It’s up to you what to choose!

Cat bait: Why it is important

Cats baitBaiting the cat trap is essential when it comes to trapping process. To make it successful select a bait feral cats like and position it properly.

The smellier cat bait is the better. Remember these critters are attracted to smelly, rich-in-fats-and-proteins foods.

Here are the best cat baits:

  • Sardines in oil
  • Fresh fish
  • Canned tuna in oil
  • Anchovies
  • Mackerel
  • Oil of catnip
  • Wet cat food
  • Cooked chicken
The bait should be positioned properly if you don’t want to end up with a tripped empty cat trap or stolen bait.

To lure the cat inside the trap, place a small, but delicious-to-cats amount of bait – fresh fish or mackerel – at the mouth of the trap. Don’t use too much bait outside the cat trap, if you don’t want the animal become satisfied before reaching the trigger plate.

What is the Best Way to Trap a Cat

Stray cats trappingWhen it comes to wily genius cats that will not go in the trap, Patience is the key thing.

Baiting the trap with a small spoon of wet cat food, tuna or mackerel is the most effective way to lure the cat into the trap you use. If you have a two-door trap, make sure the trap’s rear door is secured. It’s also very important to choose the proper size of the trap.

Cover the cat trap, if an uncovered trap didn’t work. Use leaves and vines from the environment of cat to make the animal feel more trusted.

Remember, trapping the cat takes the right human trap, good positioning and patience.

You can find further details of Cats Control here.

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  1. A note: While many people may boast that catch-and-kill works better, it actually has the opposite of the desired effect. Eliminating a colony will only invite more cats (and bigger litters!) to the area. TNR allows the cats to live out their lives and keep others out, while eliminating harmful behavior. Another belief is that making the cats leave by not feeding them will help. That just forces the cats on other places– leaving the (then larger!) population to come back into your area.

  2. help. I have 4 inside cats that I have to trap and remove so an exterminator can come into the house. I need to buy pet friendly traps. how should I place the traps in the house .all in one room . in different rooms. should I load the traps while my cats watch are not. I am as you can tell needing. I believe it or not trapped feral cats and have had them taken them to vet and then to petsmart where they were put up for adoption. I just want to get my cats in the traps and have the treatment done and all of us back home when the all clear time is given .thanks for your help ahead of time.

  3. 12 gauge will help you get them.

  4. The fallacy of the catch and release is that these cats will continue to use your yard as its’ bathroom!

  5. you’re forgetting the part where leaving cats alive still doesn’t stop them harming native animal populations.

    Leaving cats alive in my part of the world has lead to many native animals becoming endangered or extinct. How do you propose we deal with that? should we declaw them and take their teeth out? yah know, to be more humane and all.

    I like cats, but I’d rather be more humane to the native populations rather then the invasive pest population.

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