Scary Havahart Misfire! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
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Scary Havahart Misfire!

I had our Havahart trap out in the backyard today, and Leo, our neighbors' crazy outdoor cat, went and investigated. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to trip it while he was only partly through the front opening, and it slammed shut on his back!

He slid out from under it and ran away with no apparent harm done, which I can scarcely believe, because those things look like they slam shut hard. I've checked him over as well as I can, three times in the past hour, and other than being in a bad mood and nipping at me (which is pretty much his customary "hello"), he seems totally fine.

How potentially dangerous are these things? I've always been afraid of something like this happening, and really hurting a cat. I guess they don't slam shut as hard as I thought, but I still worry that in the wrong combination of circumstances, they could break a tail, or seriously injure a kitten. Is this a real risk?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 08:54 PM
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Re: Scary Havahart Misfire!

I have had those same thoughts, too. I always check and re-check my trap before I set it. I want it to be able to NOT spring the trap from a few jostles and bumps, I only want it to go off when they step on the trip-pan, which ensures they are in far enough.

When I trapped Pretty's litter, I didn't set the trip pan, I used a loooong piece of twine. They were used to me coming out there every morning to put out food. That morning, I put out the dry food, but I also set the trap with a can of food to lure the kittens. I had zip-tied a make-shift piece of cut cardboard so only kittens could fit through the opening.
My mistake was feeding them dry food.
One kitten ate plenty of dry and was not interested in the canned and wouldn't go in the trap with the others. So, I decided to catch the ones I could catch and try for the other one later. I sprang the trap and the little lone kitten shot off into the woods. Alone. I took the ones I had trapped into the house and released them into the bathroom that I already had set up for them. Then I carried the trap back out and set it to spring by the trip-pan, covered with a towel. I went and checked it a few hours later and I had caught that last kitten and was able to reunite it with its' siblings.

When I used my trap this past fall, I noticed it wanted to trip very easily. I think I'll pull it out and take a look at it. Maybe have my husband see if he can remedy it if it IS springing too easily.
Thanks for reminding me I wanted to check my trap function...
Heidi



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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Scary Havahart Misfire!

Thanks for the tips, Heidi. I remember your kitten story from before, because it was so clever! If I find a feral litter, I'm definitely going to try that.

I don't think my trap was the problem in this case, because it's almost brand new (my old one got messed up by rain and an ill-advised post-oppossum bleaching), and I tested it thoroughly before putting it out recently. But I wasn't the one who set it up yesterday -- my husband did it without me, and it was his first time. So I re-showed him how to do it, and made sure he knew how to set it to require maximum pressure before it trips.

I'm still not convinced that was it, though. I think maybe Leo stretched out as far as he could and tapped the trip-pan with his paw before he was all the way inside. He's a well-fed pet, and more than a little odd, so it wouldn't be surprising if he interacted with the trap in a totally different way than hungry strays and ferals would.

Well anyway, he's OK and that's what counts. And hopefully he has learned his lesson not to mess with it anymore!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 01:42 PM
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Re: Scary Havahart Misfire!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Green
And hopefully he has learned his lesson not to mess with it anymore!
Don't count on it. I had a raccoon that needed to be trapped, it was staggering and reeling. I had a wildlife re-habilitator lined up to take him/her if I could catch it, but the sneaky thing was very clever. It was NEVER interested with whatever I put in the trap, and I tried tuna, canned peaches and numerous other things I thought would tempt a raccoon. All it did was shuffle past the trap and get into the hosta beds to search for fallen pecans.
Guess I should have put nuts in there, huh? *duh! slaps forehead!*
Anyhow, I caught Pretty twice and a neighbor's tomcat three times. I stopped setting the trap. Raccoon disappeared and I suspect it finally expired in the woods.



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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Scary Havahart Misfire!

Now I'm having the opposite problem -- two days in a row, the food was eaten but the trap was unsprung!

Today, I set the trap to the lightest possible sensitivity, got a book and parked myself by a window where I could watch the trap all day. Naturally, no one went in.
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