The first time I saw a possum, it was at my local zoo. It was rather cute and seem rather harmless.
The second time I saw a possum, it was a mother and her babies trying to make a mess of my garbage bin. Thankfully I managed to scare them off with my trusty water hose.
Cat owners who leave cat food outside for their cats or stray cats to eat often have to deal with pesky possums eating cat food left on the porch.
The best way to keep possums away from cat food is to start feeding your own cats indoors. But if the food left outside is for the stray or feral cats, you can place it on a higher platform where possums can’t reach. Or you can stand guard and watch your cats eat their food.
In this article, we will take a look at the effective ways of keeping possums away from your cat’s food. We will also be touching on the dangers that possums can pose to your pets or cats.
What Are Possums?
Possums are cute little creatures that are considered marsupials. This means that they raise their young in a pouch like kangaroos, koalas and wombats.
They are nocturnal creatures and will be out foraging for food at night.
There are over 100 different species of possums and they are basically scavengers. This means that they can eat plant matter, insects and anything in-between.
Possums eat almost anything.
Some might even consider them the distant cousin of the racoon.
Possums generally live in forested areas but they do venture to urban areas looking for food.
Do Possums Like Dry Cat Food?
I wouldn’t exactly list dry cat food as a possum’s favorite food. But being scavengers, they will not hesitate to eat cat food or dog food as well if it is left lying out in the open.
Pregnant possums or mothers with babies will definitely make a beeline for dry cat food as it can provide the necessary nutrients for them and their joeys.
Might be a different story if the intruder was a ferret as cats and ferrets have the same natural diet and can share food.
How To Keep Possums Away From Cat Food?
Although possums can be considered a pest to many due to their scavenging ways, we should respect the wildlife and not harm them in any way.
The methods mentioned below are safe for possums and will act as a good deterrence.
1. Feed Your Cat Indoors
If you have been leaving food for your cat on the front porch or backyard, it might be a good idea to start placing your cat food indoors now.
By leaving cat food outdoors, you are sending out a giant signal that there is free food available for whoever is out there.
This can attract scavengers and predatory animals to your home that can be dangerous to your family and pets.
2. Stand Watch While Your Cat Eats
Cats are creatures of habit and they prefer to be fed at a fixed time daily. This applies to both domestic and stray cats.
If you prefer to feed your cats outdoors or you have stray cats that come to your home frequently for food, stand watch while they eat to make sure possums don’t show up as well.
Once the cats are done eating, remove the cat food dishes and clear up any food bits on the floor.
With no cat food bowl left lying around, you won’t attract other animals to your home.
3. Place The Food On An Elevated Platform
You might not always be around to watch over while your cats eat. So a good way to try and keep possums away from cat food is to place it on an elevated platform.
Before you punch the air in victory, possums are also known to be agile climbers like cats. They have paws that are made for climbing trees and walls.
By placing your cat’s food on much higher ground it might discourage these scavengers and keep them away from cat food.
4. Use A Possum Repellent
There are many devices that are marketed as possum repellent in the market. It ranges from audio devices to the urine of predators.
Possums have poor eyesight but come equipped with a good sense of smell.
It has been said that the smell of fox urine works best when trying to keep possums away from your home.
You can actually buy commercial fox urine and spray it around your porch and home. The downside is that fox pee does stink pretty bad so it can affect you and your cats.
It would be best to spray it further away from your home so that you don’t get to smell it.
5. Use Possum Traps
Before trapping possums trespassers in your home, speak to your local wildlife office to understand what are the rules to regulations when doing so.
You might have to use certain traps and release them at a certain area or you might get fined.
Trapping and releasing possums is a very good way of keeping them away from your home and furry friends.
6. Hire A Pest Control Company
Even though some homeowners may welcome possums into their gardens as they help to get rid of pests and possums are still considered to be a nuisance as they have the ability to destroy gardens and leave smelly poo all over your property.
A professional pest control company will be able to do a good job of trapping and releasing the annoying pests for a service fee.
Will Cats Keep Possums Away?
There are some pet food manufacturers that actually use possum meat as cat food. It is said to be rich in nutrients and minerals.
Even though your cat might currently be on a possum meat diet, it won’t go into predator mode and scare them away upon seeing them.
Possums aren’t on a cat’s natural prey list so your cat won’t regard a possum as food.
They might be curious about the intruder but that’s pretty much it.
Are Possums Dangerous To Your Cat?
Possums are dangerous to cats not as a predator but can transmit harmful diseases to both cats and humans.
They can spread diseases like toxoplasmosis via their urine and droppings in your garden. They can also transmit leptospirosis, Chagas disease and tularemia which can affect your cat’s respiratory system and cause lesions to form on your cat’s body.
Besides possums, bats are also dangerous to cats as their droppings can spread diseases like Histoplasmosis which can be deadly to our feline friends.
If the possum has parasites living on it like fleas and ticks, they can jump onto your cat and cause an infestation.
Possums are also known to be very aggressive creatures with rows of small and sharp teeth. They won’t hesitate to attack your cat if they feel threatened by your cat’s presence.
Just like every living thing on planet earth, possums are just trying to survive by searching for the nearest or most convenient food sources.
It won’t be possible to totally prevent possums from entering your property unless you live in a fortified castle.
The best form of deterrence is to not attract them to your home in the first place with food and get them coming back for more cat food.