Sometimes stray cats are afraid of humans and it may be hard to lure them to you or into a cat carrier. I have lured both stray and feral cats using the following ways. If you are looking to take a stray cat into your home or into a cat carrier to take to the vet or a shelter, then here are a few suggestions you may want to use to help capture the cat.
Try using cat food as a lure for a stray cat. If you are trying to get the stray cat into a cat carrier or box, then place a can or bowl of wet cat food inside of the carrier, so that the cat will have to go into the carrier to get the food. Once the cat is inside of the cat carrier, you’ll want to close and lock the carrier door immediately.
If the cat does not seem interested in the wet food, try putting a trail of dry food or cat treats leading up to the cat carrier. Place more cat treats inside the carrier as well, so that the cat will have to go into the carrier to get more food. If you do not have cat food on hand, you may want to try cutting up pieces of chicken, beef, or any other kind of food that may attract a cat. Place a small trail of this food outside of the carrier and into the carrier. Once the cat is inside the carrier, shut and lock the door immediately.
Sometimes a stray cat may get startled when it sees a person coming towards the carrier and it may jump out of the carrier before you have a chance to lock the door. In this case, you may want to see if your local animal shelter has a trap cage available for rent. A trap cage will automatically shut the door behind the cat when the cat goes into the cage. This way, the cat won’t see you coming towards the door and it will be hard for the cat to escape.
Another way to lure a stray cat is by using a cat toy or a long string. Using a cat toy with a string already attached is a good way to do it. There are cat toys with a string and feather attached at the end that may be helpful to lure a stray cat. You can first start out by playing with the cat and then when you feel the cat is getting more comfortable with you, you can drag the string or toy into the cat carrier to see if it will step inside to get the toy. If you are luring the cat into your house, drag the string or toy into your home and see if the cat will follow.
Sometimes coaxing the stray cat with gentle words or cat calling sounds can help the cat become more comfortable with you. If the cat is allowing you to come close, you may want to throw a towel over the cat and quickly pick it up. Once you have picked up the cat, you can place the cat into a carrier or into your house. You may want to use thick gloves and wear long sleeves to prevent being scratched.
If none of these methods work or if you are afraid to handle the cat on your own, you may want to call your local animal shelter to see if someone from the shelter can come out and trap the cat for you. An animal shelter will have more experience in luring and capturing stray animals.