Manual Traps

Part of Ireland's TNR Manual

How to Help Community Cats

Manual traps can be designed to catch just one cat, or several. They are traps that are set off manually by the trapper, in contrast to the automatic mechanisms of our Recommended Traps. Note, however, that most automatic traps can be set up to be used manually. We'll explain how here. Multi-cat and drop traps are designed to catch more than one cat and are available to buy or DIY. Here, we'll just touch the surface of the information available.

Single-Cat Manual Traps

Information coming soon!

Multi-Cat Traps

Multi-cat traps come in a variety of sizes and are designed specifically for dealing with feral cat colonies, and in particular for capturing a queen and her kittens. In practice the trap is kept under observation and at the appropriate moment the trap door is closed by means of a line attached to a release mechanism. Bait is usually placed via a lift-up rear door which also provides the means for transferring the cats singly into a Transfer Basket or Hospital Cage.

Drop Traps

A specific type of Multi-Cat Trap, a drop trap is a lightweight frame covered with netting - made to catch feral cats and allowing for more than one cat to be trapped at once. It is propped up on one side with a stick, and food is placed in the back. The trapper stands at a distance, holding a string attached to the stick. When the cats are eating, the trapper pulls the string, allowing the trap to drop, capturing the cats inside. The trapper immediately covers the drop trap with a blanket to calm the cat(s). Folding designs are preferable in terms of space saving - these traps can be quite large!

There are many drop trap designs on the intertewbs, with DIY seeming to be the preferred option. Instead of repeating the information here I'm going to pass you on to The Drop Trap Design Bank - check them out to see the variety of designs available.



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Part of Ireland's TNR Manual

How to Help Community Cats


  1. Hi there. Great website. We’ve lost our cat 5 weeks ago. He’s a 2 year old all white male (neutered). He’s been spotted about 2km away near a large nursing home. We’ve been using the conventional spring operated trap for over 2 weeks now but no success. He’s a skittish cat and most likely is afraid to enter the trap. I think we’ll have more success with the manual drop trap. Does anyone know where we can get our hands on one (Borrow or buy). Many thanks in advance. We’re living in the Limerick area.

    • Eamonn – sounds like a nightmare! I think the best idea would be for you to get in touch with one of the Limerick TNR groups – if they don’t have the drop trap, they will at least have some suggestions. Try Limerick Feral Cats first – not sure where they’ll be in relation to you but am sure they’ll be able to help – – they’re active on their FB page if you’re on FB. Otherwise Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) But I’d say LFC will be the best bet as they’re trappers. Glad you like the site 🙂 Hope you get your boy back soon.

      One option is to leave the trap tied open with food inside for a few days – then he gets used to going in the trap without anything scarey happening – then easy to set trap up when he’s used to going in it. But you’ll want him safe sooner than that.

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