Baby possums are some of the cutest creatures you’ve ever seen on the Internet, but the animals can make serious pests of themselves in the real world. As opportunistic scavengers, possums look for dinner wherever they can most easily find it. Often, that includes raiding cat food bowls. If you’re dealing with one of these pesky wild animals, here are four tips and tricks to keep possums away from cat food.
The 4 Top Ways to Keep Possums From Cat Food
1. Take the Food Inside at Night
Possums are nocturnal animals that will only be out and about scavenging for food at night. The simplest way to keep possums away from cat food is to take it inside closed doors during the active hours. If you feed outdoor cats, time their feedings to occur only during the day.
Get the bowls inside before dusk and sweep up any crumbs that could attract possums. If you store the food in a shed, barn, or garage, double-check that there are no holes or cracks that a possum could use to gain entrance to the building.
2. Elevate the Food
|Materials needed:||Table, platform bird feeder, optional plastic or metal sheeting|
If you care for feral cats, neither meal feeding nor taking the kibble inside at night are likely to be practical. The cats are often active and hungry during the same hours that possums are out. When you need to leave cat food out at night, try elevating it.
Possums are good climbers but don’t jump as well as cats. Place the cat food on a table with metal or plastic legs, at least three feet tall. Metal or plastic is hard for possums to get a grip on to climb. Another option is to use a platform bird feeder attached to a pole. Sometimes, you may need to wrap the pole in plastic or metal sheeting to prevent possums from climbing.
3. Use Repellents
|Materials needed:||Wildlife repellent, automatic lights/sprinklers|
Another option to keep possums away from cat food is to use a scent or other methods to scare them away from your yard. There are several commercial wildlife repellents you can try placing near the cat food to keep possums away. You could also scatter dog fur nearby in hopes that the possum will avoid the scent of a potential predator. More complex and expensive options include using automatic lights or sprinklers to chase the possums out of the yard.
4. Relocate the Possum
|Materials needed:||Trap or wildlife removal specialist|
As a last resort to keep possums away from your cat food, you can have a nuisance animal removed and relocated to another area. Before you do, check the regulations regarding trapping and removing possums in your state or town.
A professional wildlife removal service should know the rules and take care of the possum for you. You can also buy a humane trap and do the job yourself, but never try to handle a possum. They may look cute, but they have surprisingly sharp teeth!
Is It Dangerous to Have Possums Around?
While it’s annoying to have possums stealing your cat food, are there any other dangers to be aware of from these animals? Possums are technically omnivores, and while they probably won’t try to make a meal of your cat, they could pick a fight and injure the kitty. While rabies can infect any mammal, possums rarely carry this disease.
However, possums do carry numerous other diseases that pose a threat to both pets and people. These include leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis. Possums play host to fleas and other parasites like ticks and mites that they can pass to your cat.
Possums can also be a nuisance to humans due to their scavenging. They often raid gardens and knock over trash cans in search of food. They’ve even been known to get into houses through pet doors and wreak havoc. Even if possums aren’t getting into cat food, it’s not a great idea to let them hang around your yard.
If you only have indoor cats, you won’t need to worry about possums stealing their food. However, those who care for feral cats or have barn cats won’t be so fortunate. Thankfully, keeping possums away from cat food usually isn’t too complicated or expensive. By the way, if you ever think you’ve found a deceased possum in your yard, remember that the animals play dead as a defense mechanism. Don’t try to pick up the possum unless you’re sure it’s gone.