Having an outdoor feeding station for our cats is convenient for a lot of people. Those of us who allow our cats to go outside find it easier to set food out for them to graze on throughout their day while they explore their territory. Although it’s part of your routine, it’s also going to attract many unwelcome critters like raccoons.
If you wake up in the morning to find that your cat food keeps disappearing, it might be the raccoons that are scarfing it down. Of course, you can’t blame them for taking advantage of the opportunity, but it’s safer for everyone, including your cats, if you keep them off your property. Feeding the raccoons only encourages them to come back, and they sometimes carry diseases and turn aggressive towards your kitties. To keep your family and pets safe, take a few steps towards keeping raccoons and other nighttime critters from coming too close to the house.
The 8 Ways to Keep Raccoons Out of Cat Food
1. Feed Your Cats During the Day
Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals. While they do sometimes venture out during the daytime, they’re far more likely to sneak your cat’s food while everyone is asleep. Feed your cats during daylight hours. Move their food bowl and food container indoors once they’ve finished dinner at the end of the day. Only return them to the outdoors when they’re ready for breakfast. It won’t take your cats long to get used to their new routine, and you’ll save money from not having to replace the stolen goods.
2. Feed the Cats Inside
Any food that’s left outside is going to attract wild animals. If possible, switch to feeding your pets inside the house. It could take about a week or so for your cats to adjust to the new feeding station.
3. Keep Food on Elevated Surfaces
Cats are excellent jumpers, and raccoons are not. If you can find a platform that is at least 3½ feet tall, you have a good chance of deterring your raccoons. Some people even choose to put a roof over the surface for some added protection. Still, raccoons are clever, and this method isn’t foolproof.
4. Use Raccoon-Proof Feeders
Some cat owners with a raccoon problem turn to automatic feeders that are activated by a cat’s microchip or a tag you place on their collar. This is a smart solution for those who prefer to keep their pet’s food outdoors. All you must do is set it in a dry location and fill up the storage bin with their dry food. Raccoons won’t have easy access to the food, although some have been known to try and pry the top off. The risk depends on how persistent the raccoon is.
5. Eliminate Other Food Sources
Raccoons are attracted to all food, not just cat food. If your trash cans sit outside at night, that is a huge contributor to what’s attracting these critters to your property in the first place. Compost heaps are also responsible. Do your best to eliminate all food sources or keep them secured in plastic bins.
6. Set Up Strobe Lights
Motion-sensor lights are an easy way to scare off anything that comes into your yard. The second motion is detected, strobe lights start flashing and it scares away most animals sneaking around in the dark.
7. Build a Fence
Fences are another common way to try and keep raccoons from eating your cat food. You’ll want to build a fence that goes under ground level so that they can’t burrow underneath it. Fences that slope outwards also stop them from climbing over.
Related Read: How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Chicken Coop
8. Call Animal Control
Sometimes cat owners try everything they can think of to keep raccoons out of the yard but have no luck. This is where animal control can help you. These professionals can survey your property, set traps, remove raccoon families, and give you tips to keep them from coming back.
Related Read: Do Raccoons Attack and Eat Cats?
While raccoons aren’t the worst pests out there, there are certainly times when they can feel unstoppable. Many of us feed our cats outside and don’t even realize how much money we’re losing by letting them stop by for a midnight snack every night. If you’re having a problem with raccoons eating your cat food, then try one of these deterrents to learn how to keep raccoons out of cat food and keep your kitties fed.
Featured Image Credit: James R Poston, Shutterstock