TNR Scenarios: Trapping Kittens

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If you come across some irresistibly adorable kittens during Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) or during the height of kitten season in the spring, you might want to scoop them up and take them home.  But if you don’t have the time and resources to socialize kittens, you can include them in TNR.

As long as kittens are weaned from their mothers and either 2 months old or 2 pounds, they can be trapped and spayed /neutered. Make sure your veterinarian is well-versed on pediatric spay/neuter. Because kittens are so tiny, you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment and adjust your trapping techniques for their safety.

  • Since adult traps are too large and powerful for kittens, they can be dangerous if they malfunction. Kittens might also not be heavy enough to trigger the trap plate. Be sure to use an appropriately sized trap, like a Tru-Catch 24 or Tomahawk 104, or any humane trap made specifically for kittens.
  • If you are using a trap for adult cats, we recommend propping open the trap door with a full water bottle (or similarly sized object like a stick) attached to a string so you can spring the trap manually when all kittens are safely clear of the door. Once the kitten is fully inside the trap, pull the string quickly to pull out the prop.

Set out at least one trap per kitten to discourage kittens from following each other into the same trap. They might still do this, so just be extra careful that no one gets caught in the trap door. If you do catch two kittens in one trap, either use an isolator to transfer one into another trap, or bring an extra trap to the clinic so they can separate the babies after surgery.

Is mother cat present? Learn about trapping mother cat and kittens.

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