Humane trap and spaying momma

I work as a barn manager at a horse farm. We had somebody stop by and offer the BO kittens or her boyfriend was going to give them swimming lessons. BO asked for pictures. Woman said she would send them. A week later she asked BO if she had thought about the kittens. BO said I never received pictures. Oh yeah right. I will get those to you. Two days later she shows up with the kittens and says you need to take them or I will find a pond or stream. Charming.

BO found homes for all the kittens as they were very friendly. BO also convinced the woman to trap the momma so we can get her spayed. Momma is not so friendly. The day Momma who is now Jenna was dropped off I was supposed to take my 3 to my vet for routine shots. DH could only find 2 so Jenna went instead of Cricket. Jenna was negative for the nasty viruses so she got to live and got a rabies shot. They could not examine her as she was not nice. She was in the back in the clam to the blood draw and the shot.
Tomorrow she goes to a local affordable spay neuter clinic. The clinic has requested she come in a humane trap as she is feral. She is living in my boxspring in a spare bedroom. I drop her off at 7:30 am. Any ideas on when I should put her in the trap? I will not have help in the morning to the night before will be easier but I don’t want her in there too long.

Any idea how to get her in there? Should I put really stinky food and hope she goes in? But how do I get the food out if she doesn’t finish it by midnight? Do I catch her, burrito her and stuff her in? I figure I will need to flip the bed and remove any hiding spots. We have winter coats and welding gloves. At least if we get bitten nobody needs to get rabies shots.

In the week and a half I have had her she has not warmed up to us at all. We are really puzzled at how the kittens were so friendly. The woman told the BO that the boyfriend would move the kittens to trash can every day and return them every night. They caught Jenna by putting a chicken wing in a small plastic dog carrier and shutting the door behind her. The woman told us either Jenna showed up at boyfriend’s property or was dumped.
I feel like we aren’t getting the real story. If Jenna was really this feral with them and really an outside cat I don’t think she would allow him to steal her kittens every day and not move them where he couldn’t find them.
Boyfriend called her Hey Cat.
Woman’s name is…wait for it…Karen.

Jenna is a bit rare she is a female orange tabby. Although I guess there is the possibility that since my vet couldn’t examine her that this cat isn’t really the momma and is just another stray they are passing off as momma. Two of the kittens were orange so there is that. She is only 6.6 pounds. We are guessing at 9 months.

So back to the original question- any great suggestions on how to get her in the humane trap and what time?

poor Jenna. Thanks for stepping in to help her. “Karen” and her gem of a boyfriend seem like total scum bags. Special places in hell for those types. I also doubt you are getting the full story, but lets just work with what we have and breathe a sigh of relief that at least 4 cats got saved.

To answer your questions:

  1. Kittens are very impressionable and are able to be socialized, even with a feral mom up to about 8 weeks old. It helps if the mom is friendly, but many a loving kitten has come from a hissy, feral mom - they just lucked out and got in contact with good humans like you in time.
  2. yep, about 20% of gingers are ladies. Its very possible this is the mama, and she got pregnant on her 1st heat cycle (babies having babies). Are her teats still swollen?
  3. The spay and neuter TnR clinic is requesting that the feral mom comes in via a trap for their staff’s safety. They can tranq her through the trap and remove her for surgery after she is ‘out’ with no one getting scratched or bit.

I’ve TnRed 8 cats of varying size. I trap them as late as I can the night before their surgery - like 9pm or 10pm. I usually use friskies gravy as bait, I put liek 1/3 of the can in a paper bowl or plate but I hear KFC chicken works wonders too! When I first started to TnR, I had to remind myself that this is going to be a little different than taking in a pampered house cat. In my area, appointments are scarce for a vet to take on a feral fix, so in order to increase my odds of success, I don’t feed in the area the same day I am trapping. I want that kitty hungry so they will overcome their mistrust of the trap for food.

Usually, when the trap springs and the cat realizes they are trapped - they PANIC. Some lose control of their bladder, others just back into the food plate and get it everywhere on them. Depending on just how feral she is - I would NOT open the trap, even to remove the food plate. Cats are great at sneaking into any small opening. Even if food is left there, the cat might be too stressed to eat. I suggest covering the trap (once kitty is in) with old towels. It helps calm them down. Put puppy pads or a tarp under the trap in case kitty does urinate or poo. I have only had this happen once and it was with an incredibly feral cat - but better to be safe than sorry.

It sounds like Jenna will be pretty easy to trap. It wont be the most comfortable night of her life, and I always do feel badly for them, BUT its worth the pay-off of not being a homeless kitten factory for the rest of her life. You are doing the right thing!


I totally understand why they want her in the humane trap. I like keeping everyone safe. When I got her from Karen I was able to transfer her from one small dog crate to another in the safety of the tack room. I just lined up the openings carefully. I think she leans towards semi-feral. DH and I stick our heads under the bed a few times a day and talk to her when we put her food down. She isn’t happy we are there but doesn’t hiss or totally freak out. I am hoping she will be an easy trap. I will go up and remove what food we have in her room.
I have some real people tuna, and some other really stinky canned cat food.

Good idea on the puppy pads. I have some pretty big ones.

Once I have Jenna spayed and recovered I still have to figure out what to do with her. I am not sure if we will release her at the farm or if I will release her at my house. We have 2 acres but are the flag lot off a cul-de-sac and back up to a 30 acre tree farm. The neighborhood is all 2 acre lots. I can barely see the circle from my house and can’t see any other roads from my property. I can set her up so she will have access to food and water if she wants.
I am tempted to release her in my basement once she is healed. My cats have a cat door through a basement window. She can release herself to the great outdoors once she finds it or she can make her way through a cat door into the main part of the house. Either way she will know where to find food, water and shelter by the time she makes it outside.

I am going to ask the clinic to put Advantage II on her while she is knocked out. Keep some fleas off for the next month or so. This is the time of year I seem to see an increase in fleas in my area.

Thanks for the suggestions.


that set-up sounds pretty great! I’m rooting that she decides to hang around and convert to full house cat, but I’m an admitted cat enabler :slight_smile:

I just went upstairs to pull her food. I could hear her moving under the bed. Normally I don’t hear anything. I did what I normally do and stretched out on the floor. She was on the floor under the bed and not in the box spring. She stayed on the floor and I could tell really wanted me to pet her but was not quite ready either. She was rubbing her head on the box spring boards and creeping closer to me. She got to about 2 inches from my fingers before sauntering away. Huge breakthrough. I think she is close to letting me touch her. I hate to have to catch her tonight and scare her but it needs to be done.

I am now more convinced she isn’t feral and just a young scared cat that is a little funny with strangers. I think given enough time she will be fine. I have a feeling I now own 5 cats instead of 4. Oh well things happen for a reason. We had a 16 year old orange and white female tabby foster cat that we put down at the end of July so maybe this is a sign we are supposed to own an orange female tabby.


If she’s going to be outside at all I’d put something on her that will kill ticks as well as fleas. Where I live, ticks carry the cytauxzoonosis parasite which is almost 100% fatal for cats. I once lost a cat to this disease, and it was awful. I was using Advantage at the time, and it didn’t kill ticks. I switched to Frontline, but I think there are other treatments that would work as well. Ask your vet about this.

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@OzarksRider I have never heard of that disease. I went and looked it up. It does not appear that we have that in PA yet. I have Advantage II on hand. I have never had any luck with the products that claim to kill ticks. Frontline does not work for fleas in my area at all any more. This clinic is not my normal vet and is a no contact curbside clinic so very little opportunity for questions.

My husband just went into Jenna’s bedroom and she was out from under the bed and stayed out while he was in there. She was meowing at him. She wants to be friendly now.


We set the trap. She got caught in less than 5 minutes.


Good girl Jenna! It might be a little set-backk, but I bet that she might continue to open up to you during her recovery period. Congrats on your new kitty! Pics are needed in due time (after she recovered of course - don’t want to cast her in an unflattering light!)


Aw yay! Hope surgery went well and she is recovering nicely!
Can’t wait to see pics of this pretty girl!

Surgery went well. She was in heat. She took herself out of her crate and is back in the box spring


How’s she doing? Out of the box spring?

She is doing okay. She has come out of the boxspring once for my husband. She stays in the boxspring for me but I can hear her purr. She eats a lot of food.


Awww… A purring box spring :grin:

Hopefully she’ll start coming out more and stay out. Purring and eating well are excellent though!