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|Hopefully you will never encounter a trap-savvy cat, but if you do, a drop trap can be your best friend. These instructions describe how to make and use a drop trap.
Wood Trap Design
How to Trap and Transfer the Cat from the Drop Trap to a Humane Box Trap
Created by HubCats
This trap is made of wood, it is large, and it has an anchor flap that allows you to use the trap by yourself, with no partner. The anchor flap lays flat on the ground on the opposite side of the trap from the door. The weight that you can apply to it can be in the form of a bucket full of bricks, sand, or cinder blocks (whatever you have on hand). This extra weight will keep the trap down on one side while the cat thrashes about, allowing you to use your weight (with your knee) to hold the trap down on the opposite side.
Materials (in order of use):
- 8 pieces of 3’ foot long “strapping” (strapping is 1”x3” wood with rounded edges)
- 5 pieces of 14” long strapping
- Several 5/8” or 1” drywall screws
- Heavy gauge sand paper
- 36 sq. ft. of 1” plastic garden mesh /Garden Fencing (add Deer Netting for extra strength)
- 60 zip/cable ties or nylon rope
- 2 pieces of 16” tongue-and-groove fir flooring (one 32” piece cut in half) *If desired, you may cut the flooring in half (so it is only 1.5” wide)
- 4 wood screws – 2”
- 1 sanded plywood piece of ¼” or ½” thickness cut to 7”x 16” (for door)
- 1 small door knob and screw for it
- 1 plywood piece of ¾” thickness cut to 10”x 18” (for the anchor flap)
- 1 carpeting piece to cover 10” x 18” (anchor flap)
- Glue (for carpeting)
- 1 T-strap hinge and screws to fit hinge
- 1 piece of 15” scrap tongue-and-groove fir flooring (for prop stick)
- 60’ Mason’s line (heavy gauge)
To Assemble the 3’x 3’x 14” frame:
- Construct two rectangles out of the two long and two short pieces of strapping, with the drywall screws. Attach these two frames together with the remaining four long pieces of strapping to make a 3’ square frame.
- Sand the wood well so there are no splinters. Watch out for screw ends poking through.
- Cover the frame in garden mesh (not on the bottom) and attach it to the frame with nylon rope or thick plastic zip ties, about one every 3” or so. Allow no room for a cat to squeeze through. Don’t use staples as they can come out and hurt the cat.
To Create the Trap Door and Anchor:
- Pick a corner of the frame where you want the door to go. Cut a capital “I” up the center and across the top and bottom into the mesh (the mesh will then be folded out, away from the door).
- To place the door frame, align the two piece of tongue-and-groove wood on either side of the cut out area (with the open grooves facing each other), parallel to, or on top of the edge of the frame.
- Secure the two pieces of tongue-and-grove to the frame with 2” wood screws, two per piece at the top and bottom (be sure the screws don’t reach the inside of the trap).
- Wrap the cut mesh around the frame (you may cut off the excess) and secure it with zip tie or rope. You may attach a scrap piece of 14” strapping near the inside edge of the door frame, to wrap excess mesh around. Again, be sure no sharp edges are facing the inside of the trap.
- Insert the sliding 7” x 16” door and attach the door knob in desired location. To prevent the door from sliding out when the trap is propped up, glue two small strips of scrap plywood to the bottom of two door sides to cover the open ends of the grooves.
- Glue or staple the carpeting to the bottom of the 10” x 18” anchor flap. The carpet gives the anchor added traction.
- Using a T-strap hinge, and appropriate screws, attach the anchor flap to the frame at the opposite side, and diagonal to the trap door. Use a heavy object (cinder blocks, bucket of bricks or sand) to place on top of the anchor for weight.
- To make the prop stick, take 14”-16” piece of the tongue-and-groove flooring, or any other solid 1” or 2” wide piece of wood and round the end with sand paper so that it won’t stick in the ground. Carve out a notch at the top of the stick to keep it in place while holding up the trap.
- To make things easier on you, it’s helpful to create a wood paddle, to wrap the mason line around. Use an extra piece of plywood cut in a spool shape, and sand it down.
- You will need a humane box trap with guillotine type rear door, a towel or other cover that will completely cover it (top and sides) and a blanket that will completely cover the drop trap (top and sides).
- Decide with your partner who will run to the drop trap to cover it, and who will follow with the humane trap and its cover.
- Find flat ground. It is important that all four sides of the drop trap be flush to the ground once it drops. If it is on uneven ground, it can create a small gap that the cat can escape through.
Trapping and Transfer
- Center the food at the opposite side of the trap from the trap door.
- Prop the trap up, placing the side with the trap door into the crook of the prop stick.
- Unwind the line as you walk away. Stand as far away as you can so that the cat will go to the food, but close enough to where you can get to the trap quickly once the cat is trapped.
- When the cat is completely under the trap, give him a few seconds to get really interested in eating. Do not pull the line if the cat is only part of the way in. It is okay to trap multiple cats at once. Just be sure to have separate humane traps to transfer them into.
- Pull the line hard and fast because you have to make sure the stick is pulled completely away from the trap so the trap does not land on it.
- The person assigned to covering the drop trap must immediately run over and cover it completely.
- The other person quickly follows with the humane trap and its cover.
- Line up the humane trap's rear door with the drop trap's door.
- Cover the humane trap completely except for the end away from the drop trap. This should make the humane trap look like an escape route to the cat.
- Give the cat some time to settle down if he is thrashing around wildly.
- Lift both trap doors up and once the cat goes into the humane trap close BOTH doors. He may need a little coaxing but do not put your hands in the trap. Be kind; remember this animal is terrified. IMPORTANT: Remember to close the door on the humane trap before separating the two traps.
- If you do not have a trap with a guillotine type rear door, do the same procedure, only using the front door of the trap. You might need to improvise to prevent a gap between the two traps such as putting the humane trap on its side so the open door extends along the side of the drop trap rather than forcing the humane trap to be several inches from it. A trap divider can be useful to prevent the cat from escaping until the humane trap door can be closed.