Best Humane Cat Traps

Trapping with a humane cage trap is one of the most effective methods for catching an escaped indoor-only cat or displaced (lost away from home) outdoor-access cat.  However, it is very important to select the right cat trap and set it up, bait it, and monitor it properly.  The wrong trap may injure your cat or allow them to escape, and once they have had a bad experience with a trap, they will be much more difficult to trap again.   Below are a few of the best designed cat traps as well as one more affordable trap that still works well.

First a few important tips on selecting a humane cat trap

  • Most important: make sure that the trap you select is big enough!  Your cat’s entire body should fit inside the trap before they step on the trip plate (i.e. the trigger that closes the door).  If the trap is too small, the trap door may close on your cat’s back end and allow them to escape.  In general, cats are also more comfortable entering traps with larger entrances.
  • Pick a cat trap made of quality materials.  It may be tempting to buy a cheap trap, but these are more likely to bend or break.  Cats can squeeze out of very small spaces and raccoons can bend cheap metal in attempts to escape.  Expect to pay $50-$100 for a decent trap.  I do not recommend some of the really cheap traps on Amazon.com or those often sold at discount hardware stores like Tractor Supply Co or Harbor Freight Tools.
  • Not a necessity, but a sliding rear release door makes baiting the trap and releasing wildlife so much easier.  However, I generally do not recommend a trap with two trap doors (e.g. some Havahart traps).

Tru Catch Classic Deluxe Animal Trap 36D

The Tru Catch 36D is one of the best all around cat traps.  Its unique design includes a quiet gravity door, an extra-large trip plate, and a variable trigger.  This trap has a large entrance that cats are more likely to enter and a large trip plate, which increases capture rates.  Typical small trip plates may allow the cat to eat the bait and not set off the trap.  The variable trigger mechanism can be set for either light or heavy cats.  The sliding rear door makes adding bait easy and allows easy release of wildlife.  Wildlife can also be released using the front door using the automatic door release mechanism; if you roll the trap upside down with your foot, the front door will automatically open.  (This method is not recommended for releasing skunks!)

Pros


  • Unique gravity door with O-rings shuts quietly and is less likely to scare your cat.
  • Trigger can be set for light or heavy cats.
  • Cats are more likely to enter the larger entrance (12”x14” compared to 9”x11” for typical cat trap).
  • Extra-long (36”) trap ensures that your entire cat is inside the trap before they step on the trip plate.  This results in fewer escapes.
  • Door shuts quietly, so cats don’t often realize they are being trapped until it is too late to escape.
  • Includes “tail gap” so it won’t pinch cat’s tail when it shuts.
  • Extra-large trip plate prevents cats from stepping over the trip plate to get at bait.  Results in more captures.
  • Easy to add bait using rear door.
  • Easy to release wildlife using rear door or automatic door release.
  • Made of high-quality materials and built to last.

Cons


  • Generally not available in stores and must be ordered online.
  • Trap is often in high demand and may be on backorder for up to 2-4 weeks.
  • Front door can open accidentally if trap is rolled upside down.  This can be prevented by proper securing of trap using cable lock.
  • Trigger setting mechanism can be slippery (trap will set off too easily) and may need some (easy) modification to work correctly.
  • No spring mechanism so trap door shuts more slowly.
  • Sliding rear door does not have a latch and can accidentally open.  However, this issue can be resolved with a clip or carabiner.
  • Heavier trap at 15.7 lbs.

Where to Buy the Tru Catch 36D

Tru Catch traps are available on TruCatch.com.   Unfortunately, Tru Catch traps are sometimes sold out or on back order due to their high demand.  I also like the Fat Cat 30FCD, which is similar to the 36D but only 30" long.   The 36" long 36D ensures that the entire cat is inside the trap before the door closes, but many cats fit easily in the Fat Cat.  

Tomahawk Neighborhood Cat Trap

Tomahawk and Safeguard both offer some good quality traps in a variety of sizes and styles.  However, the Tomahawk Neighborhood Cat Trap has a few features that make it stand out above the rest.  This trap (also called the Tomahawk TNR Model 608NC) was designed with assistance from the Neighborhood Cats Organization (a Trap-Neuter-Return non-profit) specifically to maximize capture of cats.  The trap is extra-long (36") which increases the likelihood that your cat’s entire body will be in the trap before they step on the trip plate.  This in turn increases the chance of catching your cat.  Most other cat-sized traps are only 30-33" long.  The other feature that sets this trap apart from similar traps is the large trip plate.  This makes it more likely that the cat will step on the trip plate when trying to get the bait.  With the smaller, more traditional, trip plates, a trap savvy cat can easily step over the trip plate, eat all the bait, and then exit the trap without getting caught.

Pros


  • Spring-loaded door shuts quickly and locks to prevent escape.
  • Easy-to-set trigger mechanism.
  • Cats are more likely to enter the larger entrance (11”x13” compared to 9”x11” for typical cat trap).
  • Extra-long (36”) trap ensures that your entire cat is inside the trap before they step on the trip plate.  This results in fewer escapes.
  • Large trip plate reduces the chance that the cat will step over the trip plate to get at bait.  Results in more captures.
  • Easy to add bait using rear door.
  • Easy to release wildlife using rear door.
  • Made of high-quality materials and built to last.
  • Lighter trap at only 11 lbs.

Cons


  • This exact model is often not available in stores and must be ordered online.
  • Shipping may take as long as 2-3 weeks.
  • Trip plate is smaller than Tru Catch traps and some cats may manage to get the bait without setting off the trap.
  • Trap door shuts loudly and may scare the trapped cat and any cats nearby.

Where to Buy the Tomahawk Neighborhood Cat Trap

The Neighborhood Cat Trap is available on Amazon.com and often comes with free shipping.  Unfortunately, shipping may take as long as 2-3 weeks, so this is not an option if you need a trap right away.  Some local hardware or feed and grain stores may sell Tomahawk or Safeguard brand traps, but they are not generally available at large stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot.

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Havahart Large 1-Door Animal Trap 1079

Compared to the Tru Catch and the Tomahawk, the Havahart trap is not really the best design for catching cats.  However, if you need to locate a trap quickly, Havahart is one of the most popular brands available at many large hardware stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot.  It is a decent trap and many cats have been successfully caught with Havahart traps.  So if you need a trap ASAP and cannot locate one to borrow from a local shelter or rescue group, it may be your best option.

Havahart Cat Trap

Pros


  • Spring-loaded door shuts quickly and locks to prevent escape.
  • Easy-to-set trigger mechanism.
  • Made of high-quality materials.
  • Easy to find and purchase from many hardware stores.
  • Generally costs less than Tru Catch or Tomahawk traps.

Cons


  • Smaller entrance so some cats may hesitate to enter the trap.
  • Small trip plate may allow some cats to get the bait without setting off the trap.
  • No sliding rear door, so it is more difficult to put bait in the back of the trap.
  • More difficult to release wildlife.  Requires releasing lock and opening front door.
  • Trap door shuts loudly and may scare the trapped cat and any cats nearby.

Where to Buy a Havahart Trap

Havahart traps are often available at hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.  This model is also a top seller on Amazon.com, and it often has multiple shipping options including free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime.  The Easy Set Havahart Trap is another option.  This model is easy to set and release wildlife, but it is more difficult to cover or camouflage due to the trigger setting mechanism.  If purchasing a Havahart trap, make sure that you select a model large enough for your cat.  In general, I do not recommend the 2-door style Havahart traps.

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