How to Catch A Stray Cat without A Trap (7 Strategies)

Stats by Petpedia state that approximately 76 million cats in America are homeless or feral.

The figure was arrived at after multiple surveys, telemetry studies, and animal shelter stats.

This means that pretty much every city in the US has an abundance of stray or feral cats. They are everywhere including busy streets, residential areas, and bushes.

As a cat enthusiast, the idea of a kitty being unowned doesn’t sit well with you. Cats are faced with more dangers than they can handle out there.

 Getting a constant source of food can be pretty difficult. Even a decent place to lay the head doesn’t come by easy.

So, when you see a lonely kitty in your neighborhood, you wonder how you can trap it and rescue it or take it to the shelter.

Cats, as you may already know, are not easy to capture. They don’t trust easily like our canine companions.

You need plenty of time to get them to trust you enough to come near. For this reason, standard traps are common methods used to recover cats.

However, you don’t always carry a trap with you unless you are on a specific rescue mission.

What are other options you can consider? We have 7 suggestions for you.

1. Using A Pet Carrier

Best Top Loading Cat Carriers

Before you capture any cat, ensure she is a stray and not a feral. The latter prefers and loves being in the wild. Additionally, they pose a real danger to your household.

Else, if she is just a stray, you can use your normal pet carrier (if you have one) to catch her.

The process is simple – place some food or yummy treats in the crate and wait for the beauty to go in. This might take a couple of hours or days and is best if you are not in a hurry.

If you don’t have time, you can try to tiptoe behind the cat and grab her using a thick cloth.

Now, carefully place her in the carrier while watching her closely so she doesn’t scratch.

Once she goes in, sneak up behind her and lock the carrier.

 Transport her back home—preferably after throwing a blanket over it. Kitties feel safer in confined and dark spaces.

2. Towel

Pet carriers are great and all but they are not always available. Plus, they require a ton of time not to mention they are not guaranteed to give success.

Using a plain old towel also works great if you learn how to do it safely. You don’t have to use a towel necessarily—just a fabric of the same size and thickness.

The work of the towel or cloth is to protect yourself from the cat’s claws. Ensure it is not too big as you can stumble on the excess material.

With a pair of thick hand gloves on your hands, approach the cat with a towel. Be as confident and non-threatening as to avoid spooking the cat.

You may use treats or delicious food to attract the cat to come towards you.

Watch and see if the cat will fall for the bait. If she does, wait until she’s calm then throw the towel over her back before quickly wrapping the rest of it all over the body.

You need to be swift as cats have quick reflexes.

Next, uncover the cat’s head so she can breathe well and relax.

Place her on a kennel or carrier and take her to wherever you had intended to.

3. Look for kittens

Female Cat Facts

Another simple strategy to catch a stray is to bring her babies to a kennel.

Obviously, this can only work if the queen has babies in the first place.

You can tell if she does by how she behaves. If her nipples are enlarged to signify nursing or she physically walks around with her kittens, your job is made easy.

Grab a few kittens and bring them with you. Put them in a carrier and keep it locked.

When mommy comes around, open the carrier and watch as her motherly instincts lead her straight to the location of her young ones.

Shut the carrier closed and just like that, you’d have trapped the little ones.

4. Lure the cat into a confined room

If you have a secure room at home, you can also find a way to get the cat to go in.

This is achievable if the stray frequents your home or office a lot.

If she loves the food you offer, place the bowl in the confined room and hope she will go in.

Once she does, lock the door and use one of the aforementioned strategies to get her into a carrier.

5. Drop trap

A drop trap is a sizeable mesh box that you can manually trigger using a string.

When you don’t have a standard trap in sight, you can use this alternative.

With a milk crate, two markers, bait, and a string, you can make one at home.

Once it’s ready, all you have to do is place smelly food in the crate then sit back and wait for the stray to take a bit.

Once she does, pull the string and she will be trapped.

6. Let the cat come to you

Sometimes less is more when trapping a stray cat. Not all of them are aloof and non-trusting.

Once in a while, you will get one that willingly comes to you.

Use food to lure her. As she eats, move close but not in an aggressive manner then let her come over and lie on your lap.

It doesn’t work most of the time but it is worth trying.

7. Grab the cat with your hands

Sounds That Make Cats Come To You

Although this is not the most recommended method, it can work if you know how to handle cats.

Some felines will never fall for any of the methods on this list no matter what you do. Here, you can sneak up on the kitty and grab it using your hands. For safety reasons, use thick gloves and a heavy jacket.

Final Thoughts

While catching a stray cat without a trap is difficult, it is doable. With all these options to choose from, you can find a way to help a stray kitty. They deserve much more than the scary world out there offers them.