Are you a kind soul that has been feeding a stray cat (or a few)? This is a noble deed, but can become quite costly if your feral cat feeding station becomes a free buffet for your local wildlife. Possums, raccoons, squirrels and fox will all dine on cat food if they can find a way into it. But don’t worry, there are ways to keep those unwanted critters from invading your feline feeder.
Check out these helpful tricks and hints on how to keep raccoons (and other wildlife) out of a cat food feeding station.
Pick the Perfect Time
Raccoons are nocturnal animals. By feeding your strays in the morning or daytime hours you will cut down on the chances of this nighttime bandit stealing those yummy morsels. In addition, it reduces the risks of the cats running into a hungry predator.
Tip: Remove any leftover food before it gets dark to deter the raccoon from continuously coming back.
We are not aware of any commercial solutions but a DYI option is possible. Although, this solution will take some work on your part, it is one that works. A raccoon-proof feeder is specifically designed with the traits of the raccoon in mind. This animal is extremely good at climbing and not just wood. They can scale rock, brick and stone. However, they are not good jumpers.
A raccoon-proof cat feeder should be at least 40 inches off the ground. The feeding station itself should have a skirt of smooth sheet metal or plastic to keep the raccoon from being able to obtain a grip once it has climbed to pole-base. Your feeder should also be enclosed with a waterproof roof to keep the cats and the food dry. In addition, an enclosed feeder will also deter smaller rodents from approaching from the top or birds from flying in to steal the kibble.
If you have older or less agile ferals, you can provide a second platform about two feet away of the main station to give those cats a boost.
Other Animals May Deter Cats from Eating
Even if you don’t mind feeding the wildlife, when you have a feral cat population, raccoons and other animals can deter the strays.
Although, it is rare that a cat and raccoon will engage in a fight, it can happen with more aggressive animals. This can result in injury and even the transmission of diseases such as internal parasites or even rabies.
Even if you’ve never had an incident pertaining to fighting, the stray cats may be discouraged from eating at your station simply due to the competition with the wildlife.
Studies have also shown that the typical animal is anxious and very attentive when eating at a station, as they are forced to be in a crouched position and for longer periods-of-time. This leaves the cat vulnerable to a predatory attack. An overly-populated feeder may leave the more timid felines reluctant to feed.
Keep the ‘Coons Out and the Cats Fed
Changing up the time when you feed the stray cats or by investing in a raccoon-proof feeder, will save you a lot of money down-the-road. Don’t let the cats go hungry when these tricks may just work for you.