My sister has a colony of feral cats living in an abandoned house across the street from her. She has become attached to one of the cats and really wants to trap him and try to tame him. He looks to be young, less than a year.
She has been putting food out for him, so he knows that good things come from that house. He hangs out right by her front door and waits for her to feed him. When she opens the door he runs a few feet away (just out of reach) and then turns around and waits. I fed him a few days ago and stuck my finger out and he came up and sniffed my finger. That's as close as we've come.
She's been putting off trying to catch him because she's been away on trips. She spent two weeks in Italy in September and right now she's in Florida. She comes home on Thursday and is going to get a trap from animal control and try to catch him.
I am looking for any tips I can get on the best way to catch him so she can get him tested and neutered. She's already caught one semi feral cat that was hanging out at the Benson-Hammond House in Linthicum, but this one is a little wilder than Annie was. Open to any and all suggestions.
A live-animal trap, like for racoons/possums/etc. You can get them easily at Tractor Supply. We've had to use them when the two times our house cats had gotten out and were too scared to come when called.
I volunteer for Forgotten Cats of DE www.forgottencats.org and they will trap cats with their traps for no charge but they require that they are fixed at their clinic once they are trapped. They set up the traps and tell you what to do. You have to NOT FEED for the day before trapping so that they are hungry enough to go into the trap. They are scared once inside but this is the only way to handle a feral as they can be aggressive and very hard to handle without serious injury. I've done a bit of trapping and don't enjoy it but the results are worth it. They will require that the entire colony gets traps and fixed. The cost is very reasonable and in the end you save the money in food.
If Forgotten Cats isn't close enough to you for them to come you should look for resources through Alley Cat Allies http://www.alleycat.org/ for the closest Trap/Neuter/Return organization near you.
Agree with the live trap with lovely wet food. Just trapped one the end of January. Took me a week, though, so be patient, although you may have better luck since this guy is vaguely social.
After trapping put the trap in the smallest room in your house, food, water, litter pan, no way in can get under or behind or through something, and none of the other household critters can pester him/her. They can sniff under the door at each other. Only then open the trap and let him figure out when to get out. He might shoot right out or hang back for awhile. Hang out in that room, read a book, watch tv. Most likely kitty will soon come around. There's nowhere he can go (like he can't shoot down the basement stairs and hide down there for a month - voice of previous experience here).
He'll gain confidence in the small room where he'll feel safe. For the one I trapped in January I used my bathroom - a tiny room and at the time I just didn't have another bedroom available. He lived in there for 2 weeks, until he was vaccinated, neutered, blood-tested, etc. Didn't take long before he learned that when I showed up there was Food! then playtime, then skritchies.
All good suggestions. She is going to get a trap for the cat (she's already calling him Raffles) She also knows that it's a 50/50 chance of getting a cat or a raccoon in the trap, since they also like cat food.
She lives in Annapolis and her neighborhood has several foxes hanging around and cats make a nice snack for a fox. There are also reports of coyotes in her area. She would really like to get the cat before it becomes fox food.
I honestly don't think she knows just how many cats are living on her porch. When I went over on Sunday I saw 4 red cats and at least 2 red and white cats scattering. I would love to trap them all and get them spayed or neutered and stop the colony from getting bigger but the thought of that is a little overwhelming. I'm not sure how we'd do it.
There are a lot of low-cost spay-neuter clinics around these days. Really low cost. Other people gave resources, too. Of course you might have to keep the cats for a bit until the scheduled clinic day, but they can do fine in an airline crate until spay day.
There are the TNR (trap, neuter, release) people, too.
Maybe your friends at the barn or church or school would all chip in $5 or $10 each to help fund your good idea.
A good TNR organization like Forgotten Cats or similar group will not be overwhelmed with a large cat colony. Many have seen very large colonies and they always do a good job trapping. Of course after they are released some will go off elsewhere because they do not have that central group for breeding. So your colony would reduce probably and sterilized cats eat less but they mouse just the same, it's fun. Also they should vaccinate the cats at the same time and kittens might get adopted into homes.
Well either my sister's feral cats are really stupid or they are really hungry. She put the trap out this afternoon with really stinky Fancy Feast, and in the 3 hours she's had it out she's caught 3 cats. The first one she trapped was the red one she's most interested in, then she got 2 of his buddies. She's transferred them from the trap to a large cage in her spare bedroom.
She has an appointment to take them to a clinic on Thursday, where they'll be neutered(or spayed), get blood work done and get a Rabies Vaccine. After they've recovered from this little adventure, she'll let them decide what they want to do. If they want to be house cats, she'll try to find homes for them. If they decide they want no part of being inside, she'll let them go back outside. At least they won't be adding to the cat population in her neighborhood.