The Disappearing Cat: A Quick Drop Trap Tip

I’ve been helping a friend trap a cat family in her yard.

As with many people who begin to feed feral cats (myself included!), the story starts with one cat. Then another cat comes around, and in a couple of months, there are surprise kittens!

At a basic level, if a new cat comes to your yard:

  • Determine if the cat is feral or a friendly stray
  • If friendly, determine if the cat needs rescued (it may belong to someone, etc.)
  • If feral, get the cat fixed as soon as possible through TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). And then provide food and shelter for the cat.

Trapping the cats

The mom cat and kittens are reluctant to go into a regular trap. So, we set up the drop trap in the sunroom. My friend trained the cats and kittens to come into the sunroom for food.

A couple of days before the appointment to have the cats spayed or neutered, we set up the drop trap for the cats and kittens to get used to eating underneath it.

We were able to trap the mom cat and quickly transfer her into a regular trap. You can read through my other cat drop trap tips to see how a transfer is done.

A teenager kitten in a humane trap
The kitten in a regular trap

The Disappearing Cat

We moved the trap with the mom cat into my car and then reset the drop trap for the next cat or kitten.

One of the cute male kittens was the next cat to go under the drop trap. He quickly calmed down once the sheet was over the drop trap.

He ran into the transfer trap as soon as the door to the regular trap was opened. And then, we slide the back door back into place on the regular trap.

Note: I use Tomahawk live traps that are designed for feral cats. The drop trap has a door that lines up perfectly with the back door for of the regular trap.

When I lifted the regular trap, it felt too light! The kitten is a teenager, so its weight should have been noticeable.

I put the trap back on the floor, and the kitten wasn’t in the trap! My friend and I were puzzled. It was as if the kitten had disappeared into thin air.

At first, I thought it might have busted out the front of the drop. But the trap door was still secure, and we would have seen it run out.

Finally, we realized that the kitten had moved back under the drop trap when we fumbled with the sliding door on the regular trap. The little stinker was quiet and fast!

Fortunately, the drop trap door was blocked when I placed the trap back on the floor to check for the kitty. So, all we had to do was repeat the transfer process. We were lucky as the cat didn’t escape.

Here’s the tip: Make sure the cat is really in the regular trap, before moving it away from the drop trap!

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Heidi Bender is the writer and founder of the Joy of Cats. She enjoys sharing cat information and providing helpful cat tips. She considers herself a cat lady and currently cares for eight cats.

1 thought on “The Disappearing Cat: A Quick Drop Trap Tip”

  1. Cats are resourceful, smart, and as we all know, very quiet. When you think they’re there, they’re here. I’ve looked all over the house for cats and not found them. They’re adult cats, so you wouldn’t think they’d disappear. Think again! Many thanks for these valuable tips, and for putting caring into action for the cats we love so much. You are making a big, beautiful difference in cats’ lives! and in your neighborhood. Wishing everyone would do the same.


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