It’s been a busy month with regard to looking after my feral feline friends.  I spent a few weeks trying to trap Dolly, one of the last female ferals that needs to be neutered. As she was pregnant, and I have spent two seasons trying to catch her, I was hopeful that this time, I could do it.  She seems to be the mother of most of our other feral kitties and there are already quite enough.

DollyFirst, I had the trap in my own garden filled with all the tasty food I know she loves. Dolly’s favourite food is luncheon turkey meat or cooked chicken breast.  She wouldn’t go in. Instead, she circled the trap and tried to get her paws in through the bars to retrieve the food.  She actually managed to spike some onto her claws and ate it that way! She has seen so many of the others going into the trap that she has become way too clever to do so herself.

Next, my neighbours put the trap into their garden, trying to entice her in multiple different ways.  We even resorted to disguising the trap, but still, no success.  Out of all the feral cats, she has to be one of the cleverest.  Some of the other cats, who have already been done, still go into the cage.  Even when they trip the cage and are trapped inside, they don’t seem to worry. They just gobble up the food and wait to be attended to.  Either they know that they are going to be let out again as before, or they are just plain stupid!  We prefer to think that they actually trust us now.

It was then suggested to me that we should try something called a ‘drop trap’.  A mutual cat lover sent me a great video and details on how to build one.  Then, as time was of the essence in Dolly’s case, someone else offered to lend me theirs. 

Home Made Drop Trap – using child’s play pen (photo courtesy of Denise Miller Duff)

Sadly, before I could collect it, Dolly disappeared and we did not see her for a few days.  We knew in our heart of hearts that she had gone off somewhere to have her kittens. We searched down the lanes, old sheds and crevices between garages, all to no avail.  After a few days, she reappeared for food.  Minus the large belly!!!

We are trying to follow Dolly to see where she is keeping her kitties.  No doubt she will introduce them to us as soon as she can, as she has done before.  We will then have to make the decision whether to keep them or rehome them. I think I already know the answer.  The main problem will be trying to appease my husband when he finds out about them!

The good news is that we managed to trap the two cats that survived from Dolly’s last two litters, Pepe and Trixie.  They have both now been done and can go on to live happy lives in the garden. We had the top of their left ears nipped to show that they are neutered ferals, and hope that nobody will try to get rid of them, knowing that they cannot reproduce. We are having this procedure done now with all the cats. There are a few that don’t have this and I worry that someone will find them a nuisance and try to take them away. I tried to put collars on them but that was a losing battle and certainly one I am never going to win!

PepePepe in the trap


Claire Hegarty B lives in Ireland with her husband, son and adopted feral cats.  She is on a career break from her job in Tourism to care for her son and mother. In her spare time she likes to write, pet-sit and practice yoga. She writes four blogs, one of which is to showcase the feral cats she cares for and to highlight the plight of their peers.
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In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson

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