Wednesday, March 23, 2016

To Rescue a Cat, You Have to be Smart & Creative like a Cat

This injured feral cat with no mobility in hind legs could drag himself with upper body and legs
but here he is losing strength and would not take the bait in the box trap. Time for another solution.

Rescuing an injured cat can pose unique challenges never encountered before. With each rescue we learn new lessons and create or buy tools for the next rescue. To rescue a cat, you have to be smart like a cat and come up with creative spontaneous solutions!

Today I received a call from a friend that his brother found a cat lying in middle of the road unable to move his hind legs. This occurred late night. Then at sunrise the cat had dragged itself to nearby safety, the garden of my friend's apartment complex.  The cat was still alive, breathing, but his hind legs were immobile and twitching intermittently.

Injured feral cat dragged himself to safety during the night.

Fortunately I had purchased a new collapsible drop trap for difficult-to-trap cats.  This orange cat was definitely feral.  Immobile but fierce as his head spun around, fangs glaring, hissing wildly, and front claws ejecting like missiles.  Yes, the drop trap was needed when he showed no signs of taking the bait for the regular drop trap.

Interesting enough, Laurent and I were able to place the drop trap over the cat without a fight. That was easy! But the next part, normally the easy part, proved more difficult.

Normally with a stick we gently provoke the cat to go into the adjoining box trap to transport him. Herein was the problem.  He had no intention of moving.  Perhaps the stress of recent events exhausted him, his energy and will to fight were waning.  We tried to lift the trap and thought perhaps we could push him into box trap. The cat said NO! Fangs, claws, hissing were activated.

Drop trap great solution for difficult cats and animals to catch or trap
A drop trap was placed over this feral cat that could not move his hind legs

I turned to social media in hopes other rescue groups could offer suggestions.  But at 2pm on a weekday, most people were at work and activity was low on Facebook.  Then Laurent came up with a logical solution.  A pole with noose used to control rabid stray dogs might work here. A medical firefighter crew were arriving to help a distressed resident. We asked if they had this noose. They said no and suggested we call Animal Control. So I did but it would take two hours for them to arrive. Two hours is an eternity when an animal is in pain and suffering.  I turned to Laurent and suggested he must have items around his apartment to make one.  As Laurent went inside, I continued to provide updates and answer PMs and comments on Facebook. Word was circulating. But no one had solutions to our dilemma.  Sure enough Laurent returned with a pole, a computer cable, wire hanger, duct tape and pliers.  In less than ten minutes he created the noose.  But would it work?

Homemade contraption- resizeable noose

Old cleaning rod, computer cable, metal hangar and duct tape

Opening the slant end of the box trop, Laurent reached down the trap, into the drop trap and in one attempt gently wrapped the noose around the cat.  His claws clenching to the ground, he did not, could not fight back. Laurent gently tightened the noose enough to slowly drag the cat a few inches into the drop trap. IT WORKED! Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Two heads are better than one sexy cat lady's head!

Cat holds onto cage with claws after being dragged into trap.

The cat readily ate the moist Friskies chicken and salmon with gravy. Poor kitty was hungry.

Poor cat was hungry. Notice he doesn't even use his front legs to position his mouth over the can.
His energy and strength are declining.

To learn more about what happened to the cat at the vet, read the continuation by clicking here.

So now my emergency cat lady rescue kit continues to grow.  My next purchase is a fishing net. As I walk around my neighborhood I am discovering other animals that need help. Including ducks. Yes in downtown Miami, the heart of the city, we have a jungle--chickens, hens, roosters, iguanas, raccoon, ducks...A fishing net is definitely useful for catching kittens, and now for birds and ducks. So one of these days I'll drive outside of the city to a sportmans store. I envision Tim the Toolman greeting me at the door.  Field trip!

If you ever get a call or see an injured animal, look around your home for these items so you are fully prepared to help the animal or pet to delay the suffering. The collapsible trap is great for all kinds of animals--cats, kittens, small dogs, birds, ducks, raccoons...


[Click here to see my video]
Tomahawk collapsible drop trap (purchased on Amazon) - $115
Tomahawk, double handle box trap
Pet carrier, medium size
Fishing net with handle
Wire cutters (for cutting fencing or barbed wire)
Duct tape
Gloves (I have rubber gloves for grip. Thick Playtex kitchen gloves)
Towels, old ones
Paper towels
Wet wipes
Moist and dry cat food
Paper bowls
Plastic bags (large ones to place under the trap in your car; small ones for trash)

Feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment below!


At Pawsitively Humane/Riverfront Cats we manage and care for a colony of cats. This posting serves to provide education and guidance on how you can help your community. We do not have a facility, only a small group of volunteers to help manage the Riverfront Cats.

 If you need assistance with a stray, feral or injured cat, please search for local groups on Facebook. Many residents form online groups to help one another. Animal control will come out if there is injured or dead animal but most likely the animal will be put to sleep. If you and/or neighbors and concerned residents want to financially contribute to vet costs to determine if injuries are minor or fatal in the event the cat can live, then it's best to jump into action yourself and seek support from neighbors and local residents.

Good Luck!


  1. This kitty is so lucky to have someone as dedicated as you problem-solving so he can get help.

    The fishing net is a good idea to add to a rescue kit! I found an injured duck recently and had no way of catching him, and you're right, having a net tucked into my trunk would have made a big difference.

  2. What an ingenious way to save this kitty. We're off to read what happened to him.

  3. Poor kitty! Great idea too! We put together trapping kits and auction them off to raise money. And we just lost one who managed to pull herself under a clump of brambles and we had to cut all around her and pull her out with a strip of a sheet.

  4. We are truly sorry Karma; Godspeed your journey ♥♥♥

    and thanx Christine.....may you be blessed tenfold ♥♥♥

  5. My prayers are with you Karma! Poor guy.

  6. Thank you for this informative post and for all you do for the cats in your area. Your heart is extraordinary and these cats are blessed to have you as their guardian angel.

    RIP beautiful Karma.

    Purrs from Deb and the Zee/Zoey kitties