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Home > Cats > How to Catch Stray Kittens: 6 Vet-Approved Tips

How to Catch Stray Kittens: 6 Vet-Approved Tips

scared stray kitten hiding away

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Dr. Chyrle Bonk

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Stumbling upon stray kittens may open up a number of questions. First you’ll probably wonder if you should attempt to catch them, next you may wonder how to do so. Catching stray kittens may be necessary if they have been abandoned by their mother or if both kittens and mother are in immediate danger. Rather than trying to grab the kittens, which will undoubtedly cause them a lot of stress, read on for some other options.


The 6 Expert Tips on Catching Stray Kittens

There are different ways to rescue stray kittens because factors like their age, whether or not they’re in immediate danger, and how healthy they are will change your strategy.

If the kittens are friendly enough, you may be able to handle them and put them in a carrier. If they’re weary of humans, trapping may be a safer option. Just remember that catching stray kittens can take some time. Don’t plan on catching any kittens in one day, instead spending days to weeks may be in order to keep it as stress-free as possible. Be patient!

1. Observe the Kittens

Observe the kittens from a safe distance to find out if the mother is around or not. You don’t want to move kittens if the mother is still caring for them. Mothers will leave to find food, or they might be keeping their distance due to your presence. Leave for three to four hours if the kittens aren’t in direct danger. If she hasn’t returned when you do, it’s safe to assume the kittens are alone.

Watching the kittens will also give you an idea of the best place to place your trap.

little stray kitten beside the car wheel
Image Credit: Oleg Elkov, Shutterstock

2. Pick Your Method

If you decide on a trap, there is still the question of what sort of trap you will use. You want something humane that won’t injure any of the kittens. It’s also trickier to catch multiple kittens, so you want something that will tempt them to stay once they’re inside. You need a trap that is large and inviting.

You could also cover your bases and set up multiple traps to make it easier to catch all the kittens without putting pressure on yourself to catch them all at the same time.

3. Buy Your Trap

You can buy humane cat traps online or in feed or farm supply stores in various shapes and sizes. If you need recommendations on the best trap, check with your veterinarian, local humane society, or animal rescue for recommendations.

three little stray kittens
Image Credit: Adisorn Chaisan, Shutterstock

4. Choose Where Your Trap Will Be Located

Pick an area where the kittens frequently visit or travel through to place your trap. Make sure it’s in a secluded spot and not on someone else’s property unless they’ve given you permission.

5. Lure Them Into the Trap

You can add bait to the trap in order to get the kitten’s attention and get them to come inside. It’s safe to assume that abandoned kittens will be hungry, so food will be incredibly handy. Depending on their age, you could use cooked meat or soft food in gravy, which will smell great and be easy to swallow.

Place the bait in the trap without setting it to allow the kittens to visit the trap and eat the food without getting caught for the first few times. This will help them feel more comfortable and less stressed when the trap is set and actually catches them.

Three kittens in a cat carrier
Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

6. Cover the Trap

Once the kittens are in the trap, covering it with a light towel or blanket may help them feel more secure and less stressed, yet will still allow fresh air in so they can breathe. From here you can take them to your veterinarian or animal shelter.


What Should You Do if the Kittens Are in Immediate Danger?

If the kittens live in a dangerous environment or seem cold and sick, contact your vet or a local animal control agency. Some shelters or rescues may have people that can help you catch the kittens or even provide traps if you need them.

If you are able to handle the kittens, do so with care. Even if they seem gentle, stray kittens can still easily spook with loud noises, new faces, etc. so use a calm voice, maintain control of their head and feet and safely place them in a carrier.

Can You Take the Kittens Home?

Stray kittens can require a lot of care, especially if they haven’t been weaned. Before deciding if you should take them home, contact your vet to see if they will need anything special. Also, keep in mind that kittens who haven’t been around people before can take a lot of time and work, so consider talking to your vet or local shelter first.

How to Be Prepared

If you’ve stumbled on stray animals more than once, you might wonder how you can be better prepared in the future, especially if the animals in question aren’t always in the safest situations.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends equipping yourself so you’re in the best position to assist an animal in need. Here are some items you can keep in your home:

  • Animal first aid kit
  • Cardboard box or cat carrier
  • Collars and leashes (for dogs)
  • Heavy blanket
  • Phone numbers of 24-hour emergency veterinary clinics, shelters, and local animal control
  • Strong-smelling canned food, such as tuna
  • Water bowls and water

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Final Thoughts

Capturing stray kittens can take time and a lot of patience. The local animal shelter, veterinarian, or animal control can give you advice and help if you feel like it isn’t something you can handle on your own.

There are a few ways you can capture stray kittens, but how you go about it will depend on the health of the kittens and whether or not they’re in immediate danger. If you have the time, you can set up a trap, earn their trust, and take them somewhere safe where they will receive medical care.

Featured Image Credit: nopealter, Shutterstock

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