The use of humane traps is a method frequently used to reunite lost pets with their families.  Many cats, especially escaped indoor-only cats, will not approach people (even those they know and love) once they are lost and scared.  Skittish dogs may also need to be captured in cage or enclosure traps.

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Trapping Lost Cats

If you need to trap a lost or stray cat, first check out the resources available on this site:

Cats in the Bag:  provides instructions on different methods of capturing lost cats including the Kitty Buffet, Simply Sitting, and the House Trap as well as humane traps.

Feral cat rescue groups (those that conduct Trap-Neuter-Return) also provide some useful information on trapping cats.

Catching Hard-to-Trap or Trap-Shy Cats

Some cats are particularly difficult to trap, and you may need to resort to using a drop trap or other tricks of the trade.  A drop trap is basically a large box with a pull-stick that must be manually activated such as a rope being pulled.  Many cats that are reluctant to go inside a standard humane cat trap will quickly walk under a drop trap.

Trapping Lost Dogs

If you need to trap a lost or stray dog, first check out the resources available on this site:

For the best information available on humanely trapping a skittish lost or stray dog using box or cage traps, check out the Feral Dog Blog.  This blog is hosted by Dr. Mark Johnson, the founder of Global Wildlife Resources, and it includes access to a free training library.

Catching Hard-to-Trap or Trap-Shy Dogs

If you have a dog that refuses to enter a humane cage trap, you may need to use an enclosure or kennel trap.  These traps are usually custom made, so you will either need to build one yourself or work with a pet detective or volunteer lost dog group.

  • If you want to find someone to help you trap your dog, check out The Guide to Finding a Pet Detective or Search Dog.
  • If you want to build your own trap, The Retrievers, a non-profit group in Minnesota, provides instructions on their site on how to build a "Missy Trap" - a specific design of enclosure trap.  They also provide instructions on how to build a "Raytripper" electronic live trap triggering system.

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