Please read all of the information on the TNR Program page of this website before reading below about the volunteer role of trapper.
We have only a small team of trappers and yet a great need for trapping of feral cats and kittens. In our TNR Program, the onus is on the property owner to do the work of trapping the cats that they would like to have spayed or neutered by CCR. But sometimes the feral cat or cats are located on a property where the homeowner is infirm or disabled and is not capable of trapping, or where there is no property owner present, such as at a construction site. In these special cases, a volunteer trapper takes on the task of carrying TNR for all of the cats.
To avoid confusion, we should state right at the beginning that trapping is not a paying job. Trapping is an unpaid, volunteer role. Also, trappers pay for their own fuel costs, such as that associated with driving to trapping locations and to vets. CCR stretches every penny it has to cover its vet bills, and unfortunately there is not money enough for fuel cost reimbursements.
Volunteer trappers must be of legal age, which is 19 years old in this province.
Training to become a trapper is carried out by video tutorial online. There are two playlists to watch on the Vladimir Kitten Project channel on Youtube.com:
A person watches those videos as many times as they need to in order to absorb the information, and then we have them read our policy document that covers all aspects of how we carry out TNR. Once that reading is done, then we can begin to offer the person trapping assignments and loan out trapping equipment.
Trapping requires physical work. A trapper must be able to carry 15-20 lbs (a cat inside a trap) without a problem. A trapper also has to be able to lift around a drop trap without a problem. A trapper must have a valid driver’s license and use of a vehicle.
When a trapper agrees to take on a location, they then run the show, setting their own schedule about when they will trap, making their own vet appointments with our vets, and transporting the trapped cats. The trapper would deliver any rescued kittens to one of our foster homes. The trapper continues trapping at that location until all the cats there have been sterilized (sometimes it's a single cat, sometimes it's several cats), which might be a quick process taking only one day or might take several visits to complete. While a trapper can always pass on taking on a trapping job, if they do accept one, we expect him/her to see it through to the end – until the very last cat is trapped. What wouldn’t be helpful to us would be for a trapper to only start locations but not finish them, because it is difficult for a new trapper to try and finish a job when they are not familiar with the cats or the trapping methods that have been already tried. Therefore, perseverance is a key requirement.
It is also a requirement that a trapper commit to trap on the days that they arrange to do so, and that is because they will have booked spay appointments for those cats. If a trapper were to have surgery appointments booked, but then on the day prior to the appointments, when they were supposed to go trapping, they instead decided not to, that would negatively affect the business of our vets. We couldn’t have that.
Cats need to be trapped the day prior to a pre-booked surgery appointment, taken to the vet, picked up after surgery, and released back where they came from. This is all done by the trapper. The spaying/neutering and vaccinating of ferals happens at one of the veterinary clinics we use. Ferals in traps are dropped off at the vet at 8 am (or sometimes they can be dropped off at the vet the day prior). Pick-up is at about 3 pm or later, the same day as surgery. Ferals are released back to where they came from usually the same day as surgery. A trapper organizes her own time, but she has to have availability within the parameters outlined above.
Trappers must be good at communicating through email because we would be forwarding them potential trapping jobs that way. And they must be diligent about paperwork because every trapping job requires the completion of a form called a TNR List so that we have a record of the cats (the form is simple but important).
Trapping cats is fun! Believe it or not, manually triggering a drop trap at just the right moment to get your feral is a real adrenaline rush. Think of it as the thrill of the hunt, but without anything having to die. Sure there are frustrating moments, but it’s exciting to catch who you are after. And your efforts make a big impact in improving animal welfare. The work of trappers directly reduces the number of wild kittens that are born in the bush and grow up to perpetuate the cycle of fighting, struggling for food, and dying young.
Trapping season starts approximately in late April when it is warm enough to release the adult ferals immediately following their surgery (they can’t be released immediately when it’s cold and wet). Trapping season ends when the weather turns cold, usually in September. Outside of those months, we only trap kittens who are young enough for the foster program, injured cats, or pregnant cats.
If you would like to become a trapper and you have watched the two playlists of trapping videos enough times to feel ready to put the instructions shown in the tutorials into practice, please email us. We look forward to hearing from you, and thank you very much for your interest.