A Warning about Trapping Cats in Cold Weather | Winnipeg Humane Society
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As temperatures begin to drop, both the Intake and Investigations/ Emergency Response Department have noticed a concerning number of trapped cats coming into the shelter. We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that trapping during the colder temperatures is not recommended and can be potentially dangerous for the animal. This is why the City of Winnipeg does not rent out live traps during this time.

These are the negative effects that trapping in cold weather can have:

  • When a cat is stuck in a trap in freezing temperatures, they have nowhere to go – their paws can become stuck on the frozen metal bars and they are subjected to a higher risk of frostbite as they are exposed to the elements. Frostbite affects the extremities first (ie. ear tips, toes, tails) frequently causing painful and irreversible damage to these tissues.
  • Often these animals also suffer from dehydration as they have no access to water.
  • Trapping these cats also can cause them to become stressed/ fractious, which means the cat may injure itself while in the trap as it attempts to get out. Nails can be ripped off, paws can become stuck in the wires or damage can be done to the animal’s face.
  • It can also put our staff in danger when they must release the cat from the trap, as a stressed-out or injured cat may become a defensive cat.

Trapping in colder weather should only be done for specific reasons (ie. exhibiting illness/injury) and not just due to frustration at roaming cats in the area. Trapping should never occur during extreme weather conditions or overnight and only be attempted when the trap can be monitored. The trap should be placed in a sheltered area, a blanket or tarp should be placed underneath the trap to provide a barrier between the cold surface and the animal, a towel or a blanket should be draped over the trap to shield from the wind and fresh unfrozen water should be made available inside the trap.

If you catch a cat, you must be prepared to get the cat somewhere safe or you must release the cat immediately. If you are planning to bring the cat to the WHS, please ensure you have familiarized yourself with our surrender policies and our hours of operation. Please do not attempt to drop a trapped stray cat off at a private veterinary clinic, as it will not be accepted.

For the month of October 2019, the I/ER team attended 135 animal welfare concerns, 49 animal related emergencies and 46 jobs for a variety of other tasks

For Animal Emergencies within the City of Winnipeg call 204-982-2020
To report an Animal Welfare Concern within the City of Winnipeg call 204-982-2028
To reach our Intake Department call, 204-982-2025 option #5

To report an Animal Welfare Concern outside of Winnipeg call the Animal Care Line at 204-945-8000 or toll free 1-888-945-8001
To report Winnipeg Bylaw concerns (dogs running at large, barking complaints) contact 311