How to keep ants away from cat food outdoors? I feed several stray cats and ants are always getting in their dishes.
Tara Delaney, Olympia, WA
It’s hard to keep any edibles safe from insects outside. As for how you can keep ants away from cat food, I have some simple tips that will help. You can start by creating a barrier around the dishes. Purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth and make a moat around the bowls. It won’t hurt the cats, but it will kill ants and other crawling bugs that try to invade.
Next,, only put out food when the cats are present, ready to eat. Then you can try washing the dishes after each meal. I can imagine that this step may be difficult if you are caring for strays who might not be on a schedule. But it will help if you can sweep their eating area clean. This gets rid of crumbs that attract ants.
Finally, experiment with essential oils as a deterrent. Ants aren’t fond of peppermint, lemon, clove, or cinnamon, among others listed on this page. If you treat the dining area with scented oils, you’ll disrupt not only the ants’ ability to lead others to the spot but it also keeps gnats and flies away. But the cats may not enjoy this trick, although it shouldn’t harm them.
Please note, whatever ant repellent you are using make sure it does not repel your cats. We covered these DIY cat repellent spray recipes in our get rid of cats in your yard post. Just make sure you give it a quick read.
I hope that you’ve found a few ideas here that will help you keep ants away while you take care of the cats.