Cats rummaging through the trash is more than just an inconvenience and an extra mess to clean up. For indoor cats, especially, it is unhygienic, and no one wants to smell or feel little bits of leftovers when they cuddle their pets. If this is a problem you have, there are some simple tips you can follow to prevent it from recurring.
Use a lidded trash can
This is a practical solution and the most effective one, to boot. A lid on your trash suggests to your cat that it is not welcome to help itself to the contents. But, while this suffices for some, others may not take the hint and a lid is just a modest deterrent.
Should the latter be the case, an extra step is needed. Fastening a lock to your trash can will prevent the most persistent feline from accessing the garbage within. However, if this seems like too much of a hassle to you, there is one more option.
A trash can with a foot pedal not only comes with a lid, but the mechanism also makes it secure. If your cat is a veritable Einstein, it could work out how the lid opens, but it would still not be able to apply the necessary pressure to the pedal, especially on the more durable bins.
Clean the trash can regularly
Taking out the trash goes a long way, but the trash can should also be regularly cleaned to make it less attractive to your cat. The residues on the inside and the smells absorbed all serve as a come-hither that needs to be washed away.
With specialized olfactory organs and a sense of smell 14 times superior to ours, it is no surprise that cats are drawn to the trash can. It is an endless universe for them to explore through their noses, but regular cleaning will make it less so.
Spray cat repellent on the trash can
Spraying cat repellent on your trash can is a viable standalone option or a great added measure to the previous tips outlined. As mentioned, cats have remarkable olfaction, and this makes them highly sensitive to smells, some of which they do not find particularly appealing.
This science has been factored into cat repellent products, with a considerable selection available on the market. Various brands have put their own “improved” twist to it, but by and large, all these products have been proven to be effective.
Spraying cat repellent on a secure and lidded trash can should be more than enough to deter any cat. However, be sure that the product you use is not harmful to other pets in the household. What is merely unpleasant for your cat may be toxic to other animals.
Keep your cat well-fed
A cat that is hungry is more likely to go foraging. As such, keeping your cat well-fed would help alleviate this problem. But do be sure not to overfeed it in your effort to keep it from going through your trash.
The recommended daily intake for cats ranges from 24 to 35 calories per pound. Check with a veterinarian for a more specific count for your cat. Following these guidelines should keep your cat satisfied and less inclined to look for scraps.
Keep your cat entertained
While curiosity is the renowned killer, plain boredom may compel your well-fed cat to look for excitement in your trash can. Interactive cat toys not only help to prevent your cat from doing this; they can also keep it both physically and mentally stimulated.
How to keep cats out of outdoor trash cans
Another scenario you may be dealing with is neighborhood cats rifling through your outdoor trash can. In this case, the following tips may prove helpful.
Use a metal trash can
If you thought their overly acute sense of smell made cats somewhat peevish, you might be interested to know that they are not too thrilled about certain sounds, either. As it turns out, they particularly dislike the sound of themselves banging on metal.
It would seem that using a metal trash can might be enough to discourage cats from trying to overturn it. But, for good measure, secure the trash can with bungee cords.
Install ultrasonic devices
Ultrasonic devices emit a sound when triggered. This sound does not harm cats but serves to startle them and send them running. Such a device would be very useful in frightening off potential trash hunters.
Cats’ auditory senses, too, are superior to ours. While they can hear the sound emitted by the ultrasonic device, the frequency is imperceptible to humans so you do not have to worry about it startling you as well.
Set up motion-activated sprinklers
Motion-activated sprinklers will be a nasty surprise for any cat that comes within range. Felis catus has a well-known dislike for getting wet. Scientists have posited that wet fur is uncomfortable; it is also heavier and slows cats down when they need to evade predators.
Taking that into consideration, motion-activated sprinklers are an excellent deterrent for your neighborhood strays.
Image: istockphoto.com / Konstantin Aksenov