If you can swing it, I highly recommend buying your own humane Tru Catch traps for TNR projects. You can try to fundraise specifically for them, and they are also on sale at certain times of the year.
It’s almost impossible to rent out a bunch of traps quickly in Chicago, and when you’re starting to trap a new colony, it’s a lot easier to trap a colony all at once, instead of one or two cats at a time. On average, a colony here in Humboldt Park is around 8-12 cats before TNR, in most alleys with a feeder. Sometimes a colony can be only 2-3 cats, or up to two dozen. One or two may be pregnant. A few cats may be sick. And there may be a few kittens that need to be socialized ASAP. The weather could change and make it impossible to trap. Also, a feeder sometimes changes their mind if the trapping process is taking too long. Time is of the essence with TNR. It helps to be prepared.
I learned all of that once I started TNR’ing for other people. It became apparent very quickly that it was easier for me to show up with enough traps for all of the cats quickly after I first talked to the feeder. That way they didn’t even have time to hesitate. I bought my first round of traps.
And expanded from there, including the Fat Cat Trap that Mooha was happy to demonstrate.
And now I have a decent supply of traps ready for use anytime in the garage.
In the meantime I also always stockpile carriers, newspapers, various bait, feeding lids/bowls, trap covers, blankets and towels in the garage for these projects.
Everything came in handy last night – I helped TNR a colony with two other rescue friends, Heather and Melissa. The colony is a mix of 17 cats and kittens. Armando, the feeder, also came out to help, and the process went quickly. We trapped nine cats within an hour. The rest of the colony is made up of seven kittens just a few weeks old that require additional vet care. We just learned about this colony a few days ago, and decided to go for it immediately because we were told some of the cats were pregnant. Being prepared with our own supplies paid off.