How can you catch cats

I’m part of the team that does pest control at Blowhard Bush in Hawke’s Bay. We caught one cat in December 2018 in a DOC 200 and a couple in 2017 in a Timms trap. But we’ve seen a few cats on our motion activated cameras over the last year or so. We were using dehydrated rabbit in the traps.

Our concern is that the cats are there but we aren’t catching them. Does anyone have any ideas??


Terry O’Brien

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The best way I have found to catch cats is definitely in a live capture trap. Failing that use a Steve Allen cat trap which is a kill trap. For bait use cat food, cat biscuits or a strong smelling fish.

Definitely keep in mind the risk of catching pet cats, if this is a possibility then use a live capture trap.

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I’m part of the Blowhard Bush team. We’ve tried several different baits over time - smoked fish, cat pet food roll, fresh meat, Terracotta Lures with salmon spray, as well as Erayz, and just last time chicken nuggets, as fried chicken was suggested.
We have a SA trap, but the bait is been eaten by something without triggering the trap. The trap is mounted vertically on a tree. Should it be mounted on a ramp? We have 2 Timms traps, plus 2 chimney traps with a Timms inside, as well as lots of DOC 200s. We have seen 2 different cats on our cameras in recent months, they must be trap shy or extremely wary.
We are about 4km from the nearest farm out on the edge of the Kawekas, an hour from Hastings. Using a live capture trap would be difficult as we usually only service our traps once a month, but it is a possibility.
Any other suggestions we would be interested to hear of.

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Yes I would recommend putting the SA trap on a ramp. A 1.2m plank at a 45° angle should do the trick, just have the trap screwed in about 15cm or so from the point where the ramp meets the tree.

As far as bait going missing, I would also recommend putting a rock or a bit of wood behind the trap to stop animals from getting in behind and taking the bait. Besides that all I would suggest is to put traps/bait around the SA to catch rats/stoats that may be pinching your bait. Dead animals tend to bring in the predators so I always try to keep the predator and possum/rat traps together.

One more thing, don’t use salted rabbit in your SA trap as stoats can get to the bait without setting it off, resulting in trap shy stoats.

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Hi there
At Baring head and Parangarahu lakes area here in Wellington we are lucky enough to have help with someone who night shoots for us. We have used a variety of catnip products with some success in out timms traps. Catnip is used to get cats interested in timms traps and rabbit meet as a reward.

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I’ve averaged 35.5 cats/year (range = 27-56) over the past 16 years off my 30ha operational area (schist rock tors and tussock grassland with scattered grey shrubs) using Timms and Connibear traps. I occasionally get younger kittens in my Fenns. Fresh rabbit meat in the Timms and Connibears replaced weekly (or twice weekly over summer) works best but I also pulse feed hare and venison 3/4 times per year to pick up those not attracted to rabbit. Night shooting accounts for an additional 20+/year but are not counted in my stats as that occurs outside (but adjacent to) my operational area. I have a full predator press operating and target ALL predators with ferrets being the greatest number (av 68/year (range 53-83) with stoats, weasels and rats also featuring quite prominently. My strong advice is get someone who KNOWS trapping to advise and use the trapping SOPs as pure guidelines only. In other words use and set traps according to YOUR patch.


It might sound like a silly question, but if you use a Live cage trap.

How do you tell if the cat is feral or a neighbors cat? Are there any clues to look for?


Feral cats often look a lot rougher than domestic. Look at the coat, eyes and weight. Ferals will probably be skinny or can be pregnant. Feral cats are also crazy, you wouldn’t want to put your finger in there.

You can’t be 100% sure though, best way is to door knock the neighbours.

P.S. Check for collars :slight_smile:

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Yep it sounds like a bad idea to catch them :slight_smile:

Think I will stick to possums that don’t have owners :smile: