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View Full Version : How do you catch a stray cat?



KikiteNeko
06-02-2008, 05:52 PM
So my mom's friend has a stray kitten living under her porch. No idea where it came from or how old it is, but judging by its size, it's probably only a couple of weeks old. It's barely any bigger than a baby chick, even, and it still has the blue kitten eyes.

It's been under this porch since Friday with no food or water. It won't come out except to show its face. I sat out there for about half an hour this morning with a can of wet cat food, and eventually it started meowing in response to my meowing. It cautiously inched towards me, still under the deck, but then it backed away and disappeared before I could do anything.

I had to go to work, so I left the can of food there. Hopefully it'll eat. I'm going back this afternoon to try and catch it so I can bring it to the vet, but does anyone have any advice for catching a stray? I don't think it's feral since it did get near me and wasn't hissing or arching its back, but it's definitely horrified.

maestrowork
06-02-2008, 06:00 PM
The poor kitten is probably lost, hungry, scared. He/she won't come to human unless there's a sense of safety. Trying to catch it would be futile, I think. What you want to do is set up a box for the kitten with food, water, and blankets, etc. Make it comfortable. Put it by the porch, then gradually move it closer to the house. If the kitten is still seeking shelter (and didn't get scared away), he or she will eventually take comfort in the box...

sheadakota
06-02-2008, 06:05 PM
what about a live animal trap- you put food in the back, the critter goes in, steps on a panel that closes the door and they can't get out. I have seen them for sale at CT, but wonder if the poor little thing weighs enough to set the trap off- poor thing!

Oo- what about animal control they have those catch pole thingys that don't hurt them-

caromora
06-02-2008, 06:16 PM
Definitely leave food and water under the porch, or at least near the porch, for it. You might have success by sitting very still with a can of tuna--it's stinky, and cats love it. I've gotten lots of scared kitties to come to me that way.

You might also contact an animal rescue near you. They are often willing to loan you humane traps. They're basically big cages with trap doors on them. You put some tuna in it, and when the kitty goes in, the door closes behind them.

It sounds like this cat is very young, and if so, it can be extremely important to get it care ASAP. Kittens that young can die if they don't eat regularly, or if their body temperature drops too much.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. My boyfriend is a veterinarian, and I work with an animal rescue group. :)

KikiteNeko
06-02-2008, 06:20 PM
Caromora--

I called the local shelter and it's a $20 deposit on a humane trap, but they're only open from 9-3 and I work from 8-4:30 so I'm not sure when/if I can get the trap.

I was hoping to leave work early and sit outside with some food and hopefully lure it in... I wasn't sure if kittens liked tuna, though, I thought that was just older cats?

What's important is that I can get it in time to take to the vet by 5. I can't take it home unless I know it's healthy, because I don't want to get my own cat sick.

Joycecwilliams
06-02-2008, 06:21 PM
I agree with maestrowork and caromora, and urge you to have them get the water and food there ASAP.

Kitrianna
06-02-2008, 06:28 PM
If tuna doesn't work, try canned salmon.

maestrowork
06-02-2008, 06:30 PM
Or ham. Cats love ham. If it's a small kitten, just cut the food up in very small chunks. Also, milk works wonder but only a small quantity -- cats can't really digest milk; it gives them diarrhea.

Kitrianna
06-02-2008, 06:33 PM
They have cat milk in the stores now. I know that Wal-Mart carries it up here. A little pricey, but well worth it to save the little gaffers life.

KikiteNeko
06-02-2008, 06:38 PM
If tuna doesn't work, try canned salmon.


Where could I even get canned salmon? Never heard of that.

KikiteNeko
06-02-2008, 06:39 PM
Or ham. Cats love ham. If it's a small kitten, just cut the food up in very small chunks. Also, milk works wonder but only a small quantity -- cats can't really digest milk; it gives them diarrhea.

Yeah, milk makes my cat vomit, so I was going to steer clear of dairy. Maybe ham or tuna, though.

Kitrianna
06-02-2008, 06:41 PM
Look for the canned salmon in the same area as the tuna in the grocery store. It's a bigger can, like 16 oz. I believe.

HeronW
06-02-2008, 06:51 PM
Tuna for cats has less oil and smells more--better for the little guy. Big thing--if he's got teeth and is pooping on his own he's likely 4-5 weeks. Very young kittens can't go without stimulation and that what the momma's cat does on their butt to make them go. 2+ years ago my partner and I raised a 7 day old foundling with kitten formula and butt wiping. Her ears were still folded and she barely had her eyes opened. She now rules us and the older cat, sigh.

Set out small amounts of food in a trail morning and night and hope the kitten comes closer. If possible can you get under the porch to get him? If not, can you angle in some boards like this / \ so he comes closer then the next day move the boards /\ and get him? Once you have him, a vet visit is definitely needed for worming, first shots, and check up of external parasites like 'moving dandruff'.

Keep him isolated from your other cats and wash between handlings until he has a clean bill of health.

good luck!

PM me if I can help more.

KikiteNeko
06-02-2008, 07:02 PM
Heron, I can't get under the porch. It's barely a foot high. It's infested with weeds and shadows so I can't see a thing, and it's HUGE, so it's hard to even tell where the kitten is. There's a break in the lattice where I was able to lure it, briefly, before it went away again.

BlueLucario
06-02-2008, 07:06 PM
You can try giving a kitty some food. Chicken or a can of tuna, are nice. I had plenty of stray cats roaming around this High school I used to go to. Give him some food, he'll be scared of you at first, but cats get close to you really quickly.

KikiteNeko
06-03-2008, 03:16 AM
Thanks everyone for your advice. I left her some food this morning before work, and when I came back, the food had been eaten and she poked her head out in greeting but wouldn't let me touch her. It was maybe a half hour to an hour before she finally came out into the sunlight to sniff me. So I gently nudged her into the carrier while I had the chance, and took her to the vet.

She's startlingly healthy given the circumstances. She's about 8 weeks old and weighs 15 ounces (less than a medium sized coffee!!), and she's a cuddle slut. After she got a look at her new digs, she just wanted to chill in my lap and look around. She's staying in a big crate with food and litter and some toys for right now. She's still too little to be let loose with my adult cat and dog, and she can't be exposed to my adult cat until she gets tested for Feline Lukemia and HIV and the like, which should be in another two weeks.

Thanks for all the tips, guys!!

And oh yeah, her name is Mochi.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/violeteves/mochi2.jpg

alleycat
06-03-2008, 03:18 AM
Cute kitty.

slcboston
06-03-2008, 03:18 AM
she's gorgeous. :D

maestrowork
06-03-2008, 03:42 AM
Congrats on the new addition. She's beautiful.

johnnysannie
06-03-2008, 03:57 AM
Where could I even get canned salmon? Never heard of that.

About any supermarket; I buy it a lot to use for salmon patties, salmon salad, etc. There are several major brands - Honey Boy and Chicken of the Sea - plus usually store brands. It should be next to the tuna. Usually available in small tuna size cans and larger 16 ounce cans.

Looks like this:

http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:uiRHFgeCd2-M3M:http://www.foodservicedirect.com/productimages

I've rescued kittens and cats before. Usually food keeps them around. Patience and some kindness usually bring them around. You want them to feel safe and once they do, you're usually able to approach them.

DL Hegel
06-03-2008, 04:00 AM
Good for you--Mochi is so cute:)
Thanks everyone for your advice. I left her some food this morning before work, and when I came back, the food had been eaten and she poked her head out in greeting but wouldn't let me touch her. It was maybe a half hour to an hour before she finally came out into the sunlight to sniff me. So I gently nudged her into the carrier while I had the chance, and took her to the vet.

She's startlingly healthy given the circumstances. She's about 8 weeks old and weighs 15 ounces (less than a medium sized coffee!!), and she's a cuddle slut. After she got a look at her new digs, she just wanted to chill in my lap and look around. She's staying in a big crate with food and litter and some toys for right now. She's still too little to be let loose with my adult cat and dog, and she can't be exposed to my adult cat until she gets tested for Feline Lukemia and HIV and the like, which should be in another two weeks.

Thanks for all the tips, guys!!

And oh yeah, her name is Mochi.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/violeteves/mochi2.jpg

Eskimo1990
06-03-2008, 04:14 AM
Awwww she's a cutie!

Congrats on catching her.

KikiteNeko
06-03-2008, 05:04 AM
Thanks everyone!

alleycat
06-03-2008, 05:14 AM
That face would make a cute avatar. We can never have too many cat avatars here.

Cthulhu
06-03-2008, 06:32 AM
She's adorable!

Good job sticking it out long enough to rescue her, too!

Really makes me want to adopt a kitten...

Soccer Mom
06-03-2008, 07:18 AM
What a cutie. All of my cats were feral rescue kittens. She sounds like she's been handled before. Congrats to both of you!

Fraulein
06-03-2008, 07:21 AM
Awww... Yay! I'm glad you caught her. Congrats. :)

Williebee
06-03-2008, 07:42 AM
Must... Look Away.... From .... The Cuteness....

aaawwwwwwggg

Joe270
06-03-2008, 08:04 AM
Sorry, but I can't help imagining Moochie has a kitty internet post with the thread starter:

"How Do You Catch a Stray Human?"

With posts like:

"Crawl under a porch, look pitiful."

"Don't play easy-to-catch, make her work for it."

"If she feeds you milk, puke it up."

"Screw the tuna, hold out for the salmon. You won't regret it."

KikiteNeko
06-03-2008, 08:16 AM
What a cutie. All of my cats were feral rescue kittens. She sounds like she's been handled before. Congrats to both of you!

When I took her to the vet, they said someone else had brought in a kitten who looked just like her and around the same age, and they were from the same town and also found it wandering outside. So I'm assuming her mother was a stray, or a cat that got outside and had kittens somewhere. She sat under the porch and thought about approaching me for a while, and kept peeking out when I walked away. And now that we have her here, she just constantly wants to be sitting in somebody's lap. So it might just be that she still needs a mommy. She is pretty young to be alone.

rugcat
06-03-2008, 08:29 AM
Kitty!!!

Most kittens who are feral, i.e. not raised with any human contact, are very skittish and never adjust to being handled, if you can get close to them at all.

I had a semi feral cat for many years. She let me touch her once, when i caught her and took her to the vet for shots and spaying. She never let me touch her again.

She'd cry for food at dinnertime, but stand well back when i put the plate down. She'd come in the house in the winter when it got bitterly cold, but otherwise lived out in the shed. Whenever she was in the house she'd watch me like a hawk to make sure I didn't get to close. This went on for ten years and no amount of kind treatment or quiet encouragement changed her at all.

So either the mother was somebody's cat at some point, or an exceptional cat has found you. Either way, it's the best way to get a cat -- when they find you. Almost all my cats have been that variety, though most of them were socialized -- cats that showed up on my doorstep when their owner moved. Or died.

Libbie
06-03-2008, 08:43 AM
Mochi is delicious! (both the ice cream treat and the kitty.)

I'm glad it worked out well! Feral kitties at that age are usually pretty easy to tame. Compared to older feral cats.

CatSlave
06-03-2008, 08:46 AM
That face would make a cute avatar. We can never have too many cat avatars here.
You got that right.

Lyra Jean
06-03-2008, 09:05 AM
Mochi is so cute. I'm glad you found her or she found you.

benbradley
06-03-2008, 09:29 AM
That face would make a cute avatar. We can never have too many cat avatars here.
I, for one, welcome our new cute overlords overloads.


And...
http://images.icanhascheezburger.com/completestore/2008/6/2/icatchetedme128569441754193636.jpg
... somebody had to do it.

scottVee
06-03-2008, 11:33 AM
I was going to say, "If she doesn't like tuna, she's not a real cat." But the story is already past the happy ending stage.

It can take days or weeks to get a cat to trust a human. We just have to be very quiet and patient.

I rescued a cat from a home in Arizona in November (my mom had died, long upsetting story) -- the cat was virtually feral, terrified. My army brother couldn't even get the cat into a carrier, and the clock was ticking. Anyway, we managed to get that cat back to San Diego, and she was all claws for a few weeks. But now, she sleeps under the blankets by us and has a little throne by the window where anyone can pet her ... she's still a bit quirky and likes to nip, but only in a playful way.

Aw, shucks, you made me want to post pictures ... here she is BEFORE "scared and always ready to rip your hand off" and AFTER "just wants to play."

http://scvs.com/dl/lucy-scary-nice.jpg

I've never met a cat I couldn't (eventually) get along with.

Cat names are funny. This cat ended up being Lucy, after "Lucy van Pelt" from the Peanuts comics ... she has black hair and would pull the football away every time poor Charlie Brown tried to kick it. That's our girl. (Of course, she still hates our other cats, but the house is big enough.)

= scott

aspier
06-03-2008, 11:44 AM
Don't catch it. Just get rid of it. Stray cats easily have lice etc. How? Throw rotten meat in the neighbours garden and tell him to do the same to his other neighbour, and so on. Cat moves further away from you + neighbour likes you because you gave him a handy tip.

HeronW
06-03-2008, 12:08 PM
Another AW mascot joins the wall of fame!
I adore calicos :}

Fraulein
06-03-2008, 01:28 PM
This is my feral-turned-domestic inside-outside kitty named Tabby. I knew her for a couple of years before she wanted to get close to me.

It all happened like this... Tabby had been part of the local vet school's program, Trap, Fix, Release, which was used to fix feral cats and to prevent the populations from growing. After the cats were fixed, their ears were marked to show that they had been fixed and to prevent unnecessary fixing attempts in the future (Tabby's ear is marked.). My neighbor had been the one who would bring the cats to the program, and she would feed them on a regular basis. When she moved away, I took up the feeding responsibility.

At first, Tabby would never let me touch her even though I had been feeding her. When I would go out to feed her, she would stand a few feet back until I had left the area. Eventually, after a while as I mentioned before, she walked up to me and let me pet her a little. She was my favorite "outside" kitty, so I was really excited when she let me pet her!

When it was time for me to move away just like my neighbor, I had to bring Tabby with me. Initially, I tried to give the feeding responsibility to someone else, but the guy flaked out, so I had to take Tabby or else she would have starved. Last that I had heard, a lady feeds and fixes the remaining cats. I had to call several places to get someone who would take the responsibility, but even if that didn't work out, there are other fixing and feeding areas nearby.

Now, Tabby cries to come inside for a few minutes everyday, and I can pick her up, hold her, and she'll sleep next to me if I "forget" to let her out, hehe. She's more feisty than most domestic kitties, but I think she's more grateful too, so it balances out.

One more thing, she likes tuna water from the can but not the tuna itself. It doesn't make sense to me, although I'm not a kitty, so what do I know?

http://photos-c.ak.facebook.com/photos-ak-sf2p/v117/72/53/83304022/n83304022_30468962_2546.jpg

KikiteNeko
06-03-2008, 04:37 PM
Aw, shucks, you made me want to post pictures ... here she is BEFORE "scared and always ready to rip your hand off" and AFTER "just wants to play."


Aww.. She looks a little like my Tomo. http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r115/TomotheCat/HPIM1554.jpg

KikiteNeko
06-03-2008, 04:44 PM
Thanks for the nice words, everyone! Mochi is doing well. She slept through the night. I'm a little concerned that she hasn't eaten since I caught her, but hopefully it's just a case of nerves and she'll eat what I left in her crate this morning.

heyjude
06-03-2008, 05:28 PM
tomo, she's gorgeous! Good job catching her.

My first kitten was a feral, only about five weeks. Had to spoon feed him special milk. Now he's a big bad fourteen-pounder. He's my baby (don't tell him, he'll get insulted).

lakotagirl
06-03-2008, 05:51 PM
I'm so glad you got her out of there and into the house. You won't regret it.

She is beautiful!

KikiteNeko
06-04-2008, 06:23 AM
Guys... Mochi is really sick. I took her to the vet and apparently her ribcage is deformed, and her heart and organs don't have room to grow. I don't get it. Yesterday she was totally fine, and today she can't move, and can't even meow. She's gasping just to meow.... If she survives the night and doesn't improve, tomorrow we have to put her down...

alleycat
06-04-2008, 06:27 AM
I'm really sorry, tomothecat. That's sad news.

alleycat
06-04-2008, 06:58 AM
Bumping, in case someone has any ideas for tomothecat.

slcboston
06-04-2008, 07:04 AM
sometimes the world just isn't fair to little kitties - hope things turn around for her

Southern_girl29
06-04-2008, 07:20 AM
Aww, I'm so sorry. I don't have any ideas, but I hate to hear this. I was really hoping for a happy ending for you and Mochi.

KikiteNeko
06-04-2008, 07:36 AM
I was like a minute away from waking my mom up to say I couldn't take it anymore and I wanted to take her to the vet to put her down before morning, but she died right next to me..

rugcat
06-04-2008, 07:58 AM
Sad, sad.

But at least she didn't go huddled under the porch, cold and scared. You were some comfort, and you did a good thing.

Lyra Jean
06-04-2008, 08:30 AM
Yes, I agree with Rugcat. You gave the kitten love, comfort and warmth. Much better than dying under a cold porch alone and scared.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Southern_girl29
06-04-2008, 08:33 AM
Yes, you did a very good thing. The kitten was loved for a little while, and that's more than some get.

Fraulein
06-04-2008, 08:43 AM
:( Poor kitty.

Keyan
06-04-2008, 08:49 AM
I'm so sorry it turned out like that.
But I'm glad Mochi had a warm friendly place to spend her last few days.

soleary
06-04-2008, 08:52 AM
We have been divinely given the ability to love. The time frame is not of our choosing. God bless us for the times we can connect and love.

alleycat
06-04-2008, 01:59 PM
If it helps any, I'm glad that if it had to happen, that it was mercifully quick.

You did the best you could.

HeronW
06-04-2008, 02:15 PM
I'm so sorry Tomo. You did the best you could.

Ken
06-04-2008, 03:10 PM
sorry to hear of the loss, Tomo.
It's a real shame.
Maybe you might find out from the vet who the owner of the other cat who resembled yours is.
Then you could call them up and visit the cat's sibling.

sheadakota
06-04-2008, 03:26 PM
Oh Tomo- so sorry that is heartbreaking, as others have said- you gave her something she never had- a home

soleary
06-04-2008, 03:40 PM
"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

We have to remember such things and make the leap and hope that the net appears.

Hugs to all :)

Tink
06-04-2008, 04:55 PM
:e2moon:

Kitrianna
06-04-2008, 05:33 PM
Oh tomo I'm so sorry love. I know it's hard to take, but everyone's right. She died reasonably comfortable, safe and loved. I went through a similar situation last fall. THe hubs and I found a kitten under a friend's trailer and took him in. Ijit was the cutest little guy, curious as all hell. He escaped one night (we have another cat who is strictly an outdoor kitty...by his choice not ours) and he got into something we figure. I ended up taking him to the vets and had him put down. It was the hardest thing I've ever done (it was only me hubs was at work), but I know that he was happy for the last 3 weeks of his life. And yes, I still miss him...

Shadow_Ferret
06-04-2008, 06:30 PM
Aw. Sorry about your loss. At least you gave the kitty some last few good moments of love and a caring home. That counts for something.

Kthrok
06-04-2008, 07:09 PM
sorry to hear that Tomo...heres to hoping you find and rescue another stray...best cats i ever was owned by were strays....remember you don't pick your animal....it picks you :D

MsK
06-04-2008, 07:14 PM
Yes, I agree with Rugcat. You gave the kitten love, comfort and warmth. Much better than dying under a cold porch alone and scared.

I'm sorry for your loss.

So sad. But, you gave the little kitty it's first bit of love on it's last day. That's special.

heyjude
06-04-2008, 07:28 PM
Oh, tomo, I am so sorry. My heart is breaking for you. God bless you for giving her love so she could go in peace.

KikiteNeko
06-04-2008, 09:28 PM
sorry to hear that Tomo...heres to hoping you find and rescue another stray...best cats i ever was owned by were strays....remember you don't pick your animal....it picks you :D


Thanks... I really think it's too soon to consider another kitten. Thankfully I have a healthy 2-year-old kitty who was also a rescued stray. When I adopted her, the girl at the shelter said everyone including herself thought she was going to die when they first brought her in. But someone at that shelter didn't give up on her and she is now a healthy and active cat who helped me tremendously when I adopted her for comfort after my dad died in '06. I guess that's why I thought Mochi had a chance, but I learned they can't all be so lucky. :( I guess what she had was just a ticking clock.