A lot of my time is currently spent feeding, and sometimes ‘fixing’, community cats.
‘Fixing’ means neutering or spaying cats, and both domestic and feral (wild) cats need it.
Here’s a blog post I wrote about the issue –
The Best Ways to Fix/Neuter Cats
Cats are incredibly fertile animals and it’s best to get them fixed (spayed. neutered) as soon as possible – about four weeks old.
There are two types of cats to get fixed – domestic and feral cats. The way you ‘trap’ them may be slightly different accordingly. Both may enter a cat carrier easily if enticed with a little bit of food in there.
Feral cats live outside and tend to react very badly to capture. Often they’re hard to catch. They tend to be very smart and know when something is up, like you trying to catch them!
I’ve caught cats for 9 years very peacefully with cat carriers, which seems a gentler way to me. However due to one of the feral cats – Princess – scratching vet Dr. Oliviera of South Miami Animal Clinic recently, I now have to use cages to catch the cats.
I had been scared of using traps – the one I’d looked at before had slammed shut so quickly and fiercely I almost caught my hand in there. And it was noisy.
Luckily this time I was loaned a cage that also had a door that can be lifted and secured at one end. I put a little wet cat food in a can at the further end for Black Beauty gently after him.
He was taken to the vet – Dr. Oliviera – by a friend, and she kindly kept him at her home that night as it was very cold (even in Miami!), and it was safer for him as a black cat as the street he lives on in South Miami sometimes has drivers who race down there. Cats do get killed as a result.
Feral cats are sometimes kept overnight at a vet’s or trappers to keep them safe as after being fixed they tend to be woozy and not able to balance or walk as usual. So it’s dangerous for them to be let out into the wild. They are unable to defend themselves from dangerous environmental factors as they usually would – like other animals or traffic.
Unfortunately Black Beauty was desperate to get out of the cage in the night and gashed his forehead trying to get out. It could have been worse. I don’t blame him for going crazy trying to get out. He was alone in a cage in a strange room all night. The one time I had an injured cat – Beastie (he had hurt his leg jumping off a balcony coming to greet me) he was kept in a cage for him to recuperate. I slept on the floor next to him and gave him lots of good energy. He recovered remarkably quickly – two weeks instead of two months.
So I think it’s really important to stay close to cats and give them love in stressful circumstances. And also tell them what’s going on.
Before a house move, for example, I told eight of the feral cats that I was feeding that we were going to move and we moved successfully. Now they’re love bugs – but still basically feral.
Your domestic cat may well be easier to trap than a feral cat.
Cats shouldn’t eat before surgery – although of course you usually have to entice a feral cat with a little food. It can be the same with domestic cats. The reason for not eating is so there’s no chance of them vomiting during the surgery, as it could kill them.
Preparation of the cat carrier or cage –
- Make sure it’s clean, particularly if it’s been used for other cats previously. You can wash it down and when it’s dry put newspaper or animal pee pads on the floor of the carrier and a blanket, if preferred.
- You can also prepare the carrier/cage by spraying it with valerian diluted in water, which helps calm the cat.
- For indoor cats you can burn frankincense in an oil burner and that can be very calming for them.
Once the cat is caught – and be fast when closing a carrier door, and firm, but not alarming – cover the carrier or trap with a piece of cloth. This helps calm them also. Make sure the material is suitable for the weather – not thick in a warm environment for example – and that the cat will be able to breathe easily with it over them.
Always be as serene and calm as possible when catching cats and taking them to a vet.
I always talk to cats when they are going to be trapped, telling them beforehand that it’s going to happen and why, that they’ll be safe. When they’re caught I reassure them and tell them they’re safe, they’re just going to go to the vet’s and have a little sleep, they’ll safe and then they’re not going to have kittens or make any babies, which is best for everybody.
These suggestions should help the cats you fix – and you – have the least stressful time when undergoing this important experience. Even though the cats I’ve fixed have been understandably stressed at the time, they’ve always been loving with me afterwards – so I think talking to them and sending them good energy really works.
Good luck with catching your domestic and/community cats!
I would love to hear from you below.
DONATIONS welcome for the feeding and fixing of the community cats I care for at email@example.com via Paypal and Zelle.
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