Guidelines for Safe Relocation of Feral Cats


You will either be trapping an unfixed cat for a spay/neuter appointment who will then go directly to its new barn home, or you will be re-trapping a fixed feral.

If you are trapping a new cat, plan your relocation around your appointment date. Plan to have everything set up and ready in advance. Follow Forgotten Felines' Humane Trapping Instructions for best results. Plan to pick up the cat post-surgery and take it directly to its new home, and transfer it into the relocation cage.

If you are re-trapping cats that have been trapped previously, you may encounter some difficulty as many cats retain a memory of their "trapping experience." Arrange to have your traps several days in advance of the day you wish to trap, and tie the door open and begin to feed the cats inside the trap. For best success make sure cats have access to no other food during this period. The idea is to get them used to walking inside the trap without fear. Most cats will eventually overcome their suspicions if they have no other food options, so if possible give yourself a several-day buffer to get the job done. Another helpful hint: get a trapped cat out of the feeding vicinity ASAP to minimize the impact on the yet un-trapped cats you hope to catch later.

There is a special type of trap designed to assist in catching those really difficult-to-catch cats. It is called a drop trap. You can buy them online or make your own (go to, or possibly Forgotten Felines may be able to loan you one. Call us for availability: (707) 576-7999. Drop traps can work when trap-savvy cats won't go into a traditional humane trap.


Keep in mind a frightened cat will want to hide from its captors. Have the cage well covered to provide a dark cave-like atmosphere, and place the door end of the covered trap just inside the cage door. Open the trap's door, remove the covering from the trap, and usually the cat will choose to exit the trap and go to the darkened cage. Make sure the cat is well away from the doorway before removing the trap and shutting the cage door. If the cat is reluctant to leave the trap, tap the bars or blow gently on the cat. Tip the trap at a slight angle, making VERY sure no escape opening presents itself. Most of the time the cat will see the clear advantages of moving into the larger, darker cage. It definitely helps to have a second person to hold the trap steady and keep it aligned with the door, to help prevent possible escape.

Transferring a cat from a carrier is much more difficult. The way the door swings outward makes it problematic to line up with the cage door. And, the cat will not be motivated to leave because the carrier is just as dark as the cage! If you must transfer a feral from a carrier to a cage, contact Forgotten Felines for more detailed advice on this type of transfer.

Read Next Follow Up

Feral Relocation Topics

  1. The Right Spot
  2. Screening
  3. Preparation
  4. Trapping for Relocation
  5. Follow Up

All Feral Cat Pages

Full screen calendar opens in new window

Can't find it? Click in the red Google box blow and enter search words:
(Results will include ads.)

  1. What is a feral cat?
  2. Spay/Neuter Clinic for feral cats
  3. How to care for a colony
  4. Being a Colony Caretaker (YouTube video)
  5. How to trap humanely
  6. Humane Trap Sources
  7. How to relocate feral cats
  8. The Right Spot
  9. Screening
  10. Preparation
  11. Trapping for Relocation
  12. Follow Up
  13. How to tame feral cats
  14. Total Ferals
  15. Semi Ferals
  16. Reverted Ferals
  17. Foster Kittens
  18. Colony Caretaker's Thoughts
  19. Cats vs. Birds Controversy