One of the most disgusting sights is to see your cat food being infested with ants in or outside your house. Your cat gets grumpy and refuses to eat or even gets bitten by the ants.
The question that pops in your head will be how to keep ants out of cat food?
Here a few natural and commercial ideas on how to keep ants out of cat food.
- Pick Up Your Kitty’s Leftovers
- Clean Up the Feeding Area
- Find Out Where the Ants Are Coming From
- Natural Options to Deter Ants
- Commercial Options to Deter Ants
- Unconventional Options to Deter Ants
- Slippery Deterrents
- What About the Bagged Food?
To get rid of the ants you need to get rid of the scent trail. That’s the easy part, keeping the ants from coming back in larger numbers, which takes a little more effort.
In this article, we will walk you through the steps to get rid of the ants and keep them at bay from the cat food.
Why Is My Cat Food Attracting Ants
Ants, like your cat, are attracted to the smell of the cat food, just like they’re attracted to the smell of the food at your picnic.
The problem with ants is they leave a pheromone scent trail that leads other ants to the food source they found. The following are 8 natural and commercial ideas you can implement to keep ants out of cat food
Pick Up Your Kitty’s Leftovers
If your cat doesn’t eat all their food in one sitting, don’t leave it out. Pick it up and seal it in a container until your cat gets hungry again. This will remove the constant smell of food in the area and keep the ants from coming and looking for it.
This may not be an option for everyone. Some cats seem to have food anxiety, and need to know and see that there is something there to eat when they want it.
This anxiety tends to be more prevalent in cats that were rescued from starving circumstances. Keeping the food stored in an airtight container instead of the bag will also reduce the food smell that attracts the ants.
Clean Up the Feeding Area
Once you have removed the food, wipe down the feeding area with soap and water or a mild cleanser to remove the scent trail left by the ants.
This will keep them from returning to the area looking for the food you took up. Clean your cat’s food bowls and water bowls as well, to remove any lingering pheromones that might attract more ants.
Keeping the crumbs cleaned up after dinner and snack times will also help to get the ants looking elsewhere for food.
Find Out Where the Ants Are Coming From
Once you have cleaned up the feeding area try to locate where the ants are coming from. Whether you feed your cat inside or outside you should be able to follow the line of ants back to an entry point.
Now you know where to start applying your deterrents.
If you can’t figure out where they are coming from you may need to treat around the entire perimeter of your house to prevent further problems.
You might also want to check any trees that overhang your house if you can’t find a entry point along the lower levels.
Natural Options to Deter Ants
There are a lot of options to choose from and it depends on how bad your problem is. If it’s just a few ants, and they aren’t colonizing in an undesirable place, DIY home remedies should do the trick.
If it is an infestation, you might want to call an exterminator as some species can cause structural damage to your home.
Simple solutions are vinegar or citrus solutions, or essential oils like clove, peppermint, or cinnamon, these are all smells ants don’t like.
The down side to these solutions is they are only temporary and need to be reapplied regularly, sometimes all summer. Another option is diatomaceous earth and chalk.
They irritate the ants if they walk in it, and they will usually avoid it. Diatomaceous earth is good to treat your foundation with if you can’t find where they are coming in at. It can be found at the local hardware store in the pest control area.
Commercial Options to Deter Ants
There are also commercial bait traps and sprays if the ants are persistent after trying the home remedies. Just make sure you place them where you cat and other pets will not be affected by them.
Some options are contained bait traps that draw the ants with poisoned food that they take back to the colony. This will stop the problem until another colony shows up.
Some baits just kill the ants that come in contact with the poison at the source. Which ever one you use make sure none of your pets will be tempted to eat the ants as they are now poisonous to them.
Bug sprays are also a commercial option but again make sure your pets will not be at risk when using the sprays.
Unconventional Options to Deter Ants
Stranger options include buying a moat bowl or making your own moat bowl. What is a moat bowl? Well it’s a bowl that has a built in channel around the outside of the bowl that you fill with water creating a moat around the food.
Ants don’t like water so they won’t cross it to get to the food. They will go elsewhere to find an easier meal. You can create your own moat bowl by placing your cat’s food bowl in a larger dish with a small amount of water in it.
You don’t want it to float on the water though. It’s kind of like a food castle for your cat. You will need to clean it regularly to keep mold from growing and grossness from soggy crumbs.
One even weirder option is using petroleum jelly around the bowl sides to keep the ants from climbing the bowl. You can use it like the chalk or diatomaceous earth too by creating a ring around the bowl.
It’s supposed to be slick for the ants to walk on so it might create some entertainment as well. Have you ever seen ants on ice? I think it would be more sticky to them than slick but it’s worth a shot if you’re desperate and don’t have any of the other options on hand.
What About the Bagged Food?
If you find the bagged food has been invaded, don’t throw it away just yet. You can use a couple of options to get the determined little bugs out.
Ants don’t like hot sun light so spread the food out on a white sheet or table cloth in the sun. They should naturally leave the food to seek shelter from the heat. Store the food in air tight containers once purchased to avoid further infestations.
Another option is to sprinkle it with baking soda and then sift it. Ants don’t like baking soda and will usually leave a food source that contains it.
As you can see there are plenty of options to try before making that call to the exterminator, most of which won’t cost you as much either.
If you do happen to see your cat eat an ant or two with their food, don’t panic. They are a perfectly nutritious snack for your cat if they don’t eat too many.
But there are species of ants that can deliver a painful bite that can cause allergic reactions in your pets. So don’t take any chances and begin the process of getting rid of the ants when you notice them, for your pet’s sake.