How to Keep Possums Away From Cat Food: 3 Methods

By Phil / June 18, 2020
How to Keep Possums Away From Cat Food

Looking for ways how to keep possums away from cat food? It’s a common problem for people who leave cat food out as possums are great scavengers and will eat anything they find.

It’s an annoying problem though. Not just because they’re eating your cat’s food, but because they are generally an unwanted pest.

Here’s everything you need to know about possums and what to do if they’re stealing from your kitties food bowl:

What Do Possums Eat

An opossum’s diet in the wild is primarily insects and bugs like snails, slugs etc, small rodents, and other dead animals.

A lot of people see this as a benefit as they eat some of the more annoying insects and pets on their property.

Although, when scavenging around homes they’ll eat just about any scraps we throw away or leave out that they can get their teeth into.

They have poor eyesight, but a very good sense of smell. This means, even dry cat food can be detected from far away, so leaving food outside could be one of the things attracting them to your yard.

There’s no doubt they love cat food. If you leave some out and have possums in the area, there’s a good chance they’re going to find it and eat it.

How to Keep Possums Away From Cat Food

Staying With Your Cat While They Eat to Stop Possums

You have a few options that should put a stop to these little fluffy mammals eating your cat’s food. These are:

Staying With Your Cat While They Eat

This can be a little annoying, but the most reliable way to keep possums away is to be out there making sure they do stay away.

If you’re feeding a feral cat and you’re not sure when they’ll be about it’s not going to be easy.

First of all, possums are more active at night. So, start by putting food out in the morning. Bring it nearer to your home where you can see the dish too if you’ve built up some trust with the cat.

Banging the food bowl or shaking the food when you bring it out can help notify the cat when it’s feeding time as well.

Place the Food Somewhere They Can’t Reach

Opossums are not as agile as cats. You should be able to find somewhere you can place the food bowl where your cat can get it and they can’t.

Maybe you have a table in your yard, a wide window sill, or somewhere similar? You’ll have to take a look.

You might even need to get a little creative and build a raised station. There’ll be nothing more satisfying for your kitty than enjoying a bowl of food while the possum looks on from below.

Possum-Proof your Yard

This might seem a bit extreme, but a lot of people want to stop possums entering their yard. They can cause a lot of damage to plants, they rummage through bins and spread trash around, and can act quite menacing.

So, at the very least I’d take some steps to stop possums getting into your yard. The most effective ways to do this are:

Using opossum repellents – There are various ultrasonic devices, although I’ve read reviews of mixed results using these. Some people use motion sensor sprinklers and say this is more effective.

Fencing/blocking holes – As is the case with any pests getting into your yard, one of the best options is to find out where and how they’re getting in and fence up. It’s a big task though, and one of the more extreme measures.

Traps/pest control – Removing them is a sure way to stop them from stealing food. It’s worth checking the laws where you live regarding what you can or can’t do. As well as what you should do with the possums once you’ve caught them.

This trap on Amazon is an example of what you will need to use. Just put some cat food in there and it’s almost certainly going to catch them:

Are Possums Dangerous to Cats?

Are Possums Dangerous to Cats

Personally, I’ve never been scared by these little critters. I think they look cute, honestly.

If you’ve ever approached one, however, you’ll know they open their mouth to bare their teeth and look like they might attack.

The Humane Society backs me up on this by saying “their open-mouth, defensive hissing is merely a bluff to look vicious.”

They don’t really pose much of a threat to us or cats. They do have around 50 sharp teeth, but will only bite if they feel trapped or threatened.

The risk of them transferring diseases is low too. All that hissing and dribbling from the mouth is sometimes thought to mean they have rabies or some other disease, but I can’t find any evidence of this.

So, hopefully this gives you some peace of mind that apart from stealing your cat’s food, they don’t really pose a threat.

Should You Get Rid of Possums in Your Yard?

This is really up to you and whether or not you feel like they’re becoming a serious nuisance or not.

If some of the methods I explained above do not deter them from roaming around your yard and eating cat food, dog food, or scraps from your bins, you should probably do something about it.

Otherwise, there is a risk they will increase in numbers and become even more of a nuisance.

In Summary

You now know that possums are typically only after food and water sources to survive. If this means taking advantage of cat food left out, they’re going to take it.

Hopefully, one or more of the methods I covered in this article will help you now keep possums away from your cat’s food.

You might even find a way to get rid of them on your property altogether.

Which side are you on? Do you think possums are cute little creatures – or annoying pests that you want to get rid of?

Feel free to share any experiences you’ve had with animals stealing your kitties food or any other related stories with the community below. Thanks!

Resources

Image credits – Cat image by Hans Reniers on Unsplash, possum images by royguisinger and Mario Hernandez from Pixabay

What to do about opossums – HumaneSociety.org

Opossum Society of the United States – OpossumSocietyus.org

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