Caring for feral cats can be a fulfilling experience, but it comes with unique challenges. One such challenge is keeping raccoons and possums from stealing their food at night. These nocturnal creatures are notorious for raiding pet food bowls and creating a mess that attracts more pests. In this article, we’ll discuss some effective ways to prevent raccoons or possums from eating your feral cat’s food at night.
1. Feed Your Cats During the Day
One of the easiest ways to keep raccoons and possums away from your cat’s food is to feed them during the day. These animals are primarily active at night, so feeding your feral cats during the day will decrease the chances of encountering these hungry nocturnal critters. However, if you’re unable to feed them during the day, there are other options.
2. Use Motion-Activated Lights
Raccoons and possums are creatures of habit and tend to follow the same route every night. You can use this to your advantage by installing motion-activated lights around the feeding area. When they sense movement, these lights turn on and scare away any curious critters. Additionally, motion-activated sprinklers can also be used to deter these animals from coming near the feeding area.
3. Keep the Feeding Area Clean
The scent of food attracts raccoons and possums. Make sure to clean the feeding area after each meal, removing any leftover food and debris. This will reduce the chances of attracting pests and keep the feeding area clean for the cats. Also, check for any holes or gaps in the surrounding fence that may allow the wildlife to enter.
4. Use Secure Containers
Using secure containers to store your cat’s food is an essential step in deterring raccoons and possums from stealing it. Make sure to use heavy-duty plastic or metal containers with locking lids to keep these critters out. Avoid using paper bags or cardboard boxes, as they can be easily ripped apart by these animals.
5. Create a Feeding Station
Creating a feeding station can help prevent raccoons and possums from accessing your cat’s food. A feeding station consists of a large plastic container with two small holes on opposite sides. The holes should be big enough for your cat to enter but too small for larger animals like raccoons and possums. Place the food inside the container and secure the lid. This will keep the cats fed while keeping unwanted visitors out.
6. Use Spices and Herbs
Certain spices and herbs give off strong scents that raccoons and possums dislike. Sprinkle garlic powder, chili powder, or cayenne pepper around the feeding area to deter these animals. You can also plant mint, lavender, or lemongrass around the feeding area, as their scent repels raccoons and possums.
7. Try Electronic Deterrents
Electronic deterrents emit high-pitched sounds that are unpleasant to raccoons and possums. These devices are motion-activated and can be placed near the feeding area to scare off unwanted pests. Ultrasonic pest repellents and flashing lights can also be used to deter raccoons and possums.
8. Install Fencing
Installing fencing around the feeding area can be an effective way to keep raccoons and possums away. The fence should be at least six feet tall and made of sturdy material like chain-link or wood. Additionally, burying the fence below ground level by a few inches can prevent these animals from digging underneath it.
9. Use a Guard Dog
If you have a friendly guard dog, it can help keep raccoons and possums away from the feeding area. These animals are afraid of dogs and will avoid areas where they sense their presence. However, make sure your dog is trained and safe around cats before using them as a deterrent.
10. Contact Local Wildlife Removal Services
If all else fails, consider contacting local wildlife removal services to remove raccoons and possums from the area. These professionals are trained to handle and relocate wildlife safely. However, this should be used only as a last resort, as it can be costly and may cause harm to the animals.
Keeping raccoons and possums away from your feral cat’s food at night can be a challenging task, but with these tips, it’s possible. Remember to feed your cats during the day, keep the feeding area clean, use secure containers, and create a feeding station. Additionally, installing motion-activated lights, using spices and herbs, and trying electronic deterrents can also help. If all else fails, consider contacting local wildlife removal services for assistance.
- Can raccoons and possums harm feral cats?
- While raccoons and possums are not known to attack cats, they may fight over food or territory, which can put the cats in danger. Additionally, these animals can carry diseases that can be harmful to cats.
- Will feeding my cats during the day affect their health?
- No, feeding your cats during the day will not affect their health as long as they receive enough food and water throughout the day.
- What should I do if I encounter a raccoon or possum?
- If you encounter a raccoon or possum, it’s important to stay calm and keep a safe distance. Do not approach them or attempt to touch them, as they may become aggressive.
- Can I use human hair or urine to repel raccoons and possums?
- While some people claim that human hair or urine can deter raccoons and possums, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. It’s best to stick with proven methods like securing containers and creating a feeding station.
- Is it legal to relocate raccoons and possums on my own?
- In most states, it is illegal to trap and relocate wildlife without a permit. Contacting local wildlife removal services is the safest and legal option for handling raccoons and possums.