Trapping Mom and Kittens

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If you come across a mom and her kittens who are old enough to walk, you might be mesmerized by the abundance of cuteness. Next, you’ll probably wonder if there’s anything you can do to help them. The best thing you can do is to get them all spayed or neutered. The good news is that it’s sometimes easier to trap kittens than trapping one or more adult cats. Since kittens often stick closely together and are naturally curious, they will likely follow one another into the same trap. If this happens, you’ll have to separate them before bringing them in–check out the different kinds of equipment to help you do so.  If you happen to trap the kittens first, the mother cat will likely hear their meowing and come to see what’s happening. She’ll try to get close to her kittens, which can be the perfect incentive for her to enter a trap placed right next to them. You can also use a trapped mom cat to draw her kittens into another trap as they try to get close to her.

We have tips to help you trap mom and her kittens, but you should also review our general information on how to trap cats, which is your starting point for the entire trapping process. For mom and kittens:

  • Always start out with the basics and set out at least one baited trap for every cat and kitten in the family. See if you can catch them all in separate traps first.
  • If you’re able to trap one kitten, immediately set up a second trap of similar size, end-to-end, against the one holding the kitten. This will encourage mom to walk into the open trap to reach her baby. Be sure not to open the trap holding the kitten.
  • To make sure mom goes inside the trap and not around the back or sides, cover the trap holding the kitten on three sides, making it so she can only see the kitten from the entrance of the open trap.  By covering the area where the traps meet it will look like the kitten is inside a tunnel.
  • If you trap the mother cat first, keep her in the trap and set up a second trap, following the strategy for trapping a mom using a kitten. Once you’ve trapped one kitten, set up a new trap, and repeat the process.
  • If you find that the kittens are too small to trip a regular-sized box trap, consider using a kitten-sized trap instead. But if you only have access to regular-sized trap, no need to worry! In your trapping kit, pack a full 12- or 16-oz bottle of water and a string about 50 feet long. The string can be tied around the water bottle, then the water bottle can be used to prop open the entrance door of the humane trap. This will allow you to pull the string, closing the trap door on the kitten once she has fully entered the trap.

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