I recently got a feral cat (Max) from a shelter in Brooklyn to be integrated into my local cat colony. Unfortunately Max came with a plastic ID collar that the shelter people had put on him during his incarceration at the pound, and obviously this collar had to come off before I let Max out into my colony (if he got it caught on a branch he could choke to death).
So the challenge was, How to remove a collar from a feral cat that is wild, terrified of humans, and cannot be touched except under sedation?
Here’s what I did (after getting some advice from Bryan Kortis at Neighborhood Cats):
First I raised Max’s cage up on blocks so that there was about a half-inch of space beneath it. This allowed the forks of a trap divider to go down through the floor of the trap, “locking” it in place.
My plan was to confine Max in as small a space as possible on the “square” end of the trap (not the tapered end), so that I would have easier access to him.
With the first trap divider in place, I gently nudged and prodded him into the confinement space using the other divider. Fortunately he was more stubborn than violent so all I needed was a bit of patience.
Max was not very pleased with this at all.
Next I slid a quarter-inch diameter wooden dowel down into the cage, through Max’s collar, and through the bottom of the cage.
This effectively “locked” him in place, making it easier to access the collar, and making it less likely to injure him in the process of cutting the collar, which came next:
Here I was able to reach a pair of scissors in between the bars of the trap and make the cut. This was why I chose the square end of the trap: depending on where Max had chosen to position his body, being at that end of the trap gave me more options for getting at the collar. If necessary, I could even have opened the trap’s front door and reached in between the bars of the divider, which are wider than the trap’s bars.
And here, the collar is cut.