Last night I tried trapping my elusive Papa cat again, and he continued his streak of eluding me. He has been impossible to catch because he does not come around on a regular schedule, and he is completely uninterested in wet food. The past week or two been coming around much more frequently, and, more importantly I finally figured out his weakness–catnip. So I decided to try my luck with trapping him yet again. As I said at the start, he continued to elude me. My attempts at trapping taught me a few lessons about how to not catch a cat, below are my suggestions for things to not do when trying to trap cats.
- Fall asleep just before trapping, without setting the trap: I was waiting for his catnip pillow to finish it’s cycle in the dryer (melting snow followed by freezing temperatures makes an interesting combination) and hoping to avoid my Fluffy Butt, who shows up early every night. I sat down and started reading a magazine, so as not to completely waste my time. I dozed off reading, and before I even get the benefit of a few minutes rest, my mom comes down and announces that Papa is outside eating dry food. By the time I was done falling out of the chair, getting the catnip and opened the door, Papa is halfway to the alley, where he disappears.
- Set the trap after the cat walks away: I was hoping he would come back in the next five minutes, which he sometimes does, especially after I interrupt his dinner.
- Unsetting the trap several hours later after he does not return: because he will certainly return as soon as the trap is not ready. Which is exactly what happened. He hadn’t come back and I was having no signs of any cats, not even my regulars. Knowing that the past few weeks he comes early (before 5:30) and late (after 10), I unset the trap for a few hours until it got a little later, so as to save myself the constant interruption of checking the trap every 30 minutes (more frequently since it was cold out). Around 7pm I head out to feed the Garage Kittens and who should I see on the deck, but Papa. He looked up at me and sauntered away, very unconcerned, while I mentally cursed my bad luck. I set the trap again.
- Have previously caught cats undermine attempts at luring new cats in: A few hours later, after hours of unproductive checking for cats, I notice a “new” cat on my deck. One I need to trap but who is not a regular. His short name is Kit, and he is certainly not one of the colony. I don’t know if he is/was someone’s pet or a regular old stray, or part of a different feral colony. Anyways he was sitting on the deck, watching Fluffy Butt eat her dinner. I quickly find a new can of wet food and a paper plate, then head out to scoop some food up for both of them. I slide a plate of food at the back of the trap, and made a little trail inside the trap to lure Kit in. He had of course run away when I came out, but was slowly making his way back to the deck. Fluffy Butt ate her meal, then went and stuck herself halfway into the trap and ate the trail of food I left for Kit. By the time he reappeared all that was left was a probably frozen plate at the back of the trap. I tried it yet again, this time taking the catnip pillow out of the trap. Fluffy Butt repeated her trail eating, then decided to go after the cat nip pillow, rolling around on the ground, not five feet from the trap. Her commotion was enough to scare Mr. (?) Kit away. Instead, he ate the wet food she decided to leave behind in her bowl.
- Trip or make any other sort of commotion to distract the cats: I look outside a few mintues later and no one is around. Not a kitty soul to be seen. I leave the trap set though, knowing someone will be back around. Thirty minutes or so later I get off the couch and look out the window to check the trap. As I push the blinds aside to look out I loose my balance, fall into the blinds, knocking them askew and causing quite a bit of noise. When I regain my balance I notice the cat staring at me. Then I realize it is Papa cat. He stares at me for a minute then turns and walks away down the deck. I swear I heard him laughing at me.
After I chased Papa away for a third time in one night, I gave up, realizing the trapping juju was just not with me. On a more serious note though, it was not the best night for tapping anyways, the weather was far too cold which resulted in frozen wet food. It was also bad on a personal level, as I was far too tired to keep a stake out going all night, which is important for those cats who only appear after midnight. So I will try again in a week or two, after I get the flyers out to my neighbors, and hope that I have better luck next time. Because I really don’t want to resort to a drop trap for Papa.