Possums can eat cat food. Since they are scavengers, they will likely eat any food that is readily available to them.
Even though they usually tend to stay away from places where cats and dogs live, if they are hungry enough, they may try to steal your cat’s food.
In fact, sometimes possums do get along with cats. The Opossum Society of the United States says that they have received numerous pictures of cats sharing a dish with a possum.
How to Keep Possums Away from Cat Food
To keep possums away from cat food, you have several options. You can keep food physically far from possums. You could build a possum-proof feeder. Or, you could work on making your property less attractive to possums.
Keep the Food Inside and Away from Possums
Probably the best option to keep cat food safe is to keep it inside your house or garage.
This will also keep other animals like racoons from trying to steal a snack. Another option is to monitor your cat while it’s eating so you can scare off any unwanted guests.
Finally, you could keep the cat food outside during the day and then take it inside at night when possums and other nocturnal animals are most active.
Build a Possum-proof Cat Feeder
If you’re feeling creative, another option to keep possums away from cat food is to build yourself a possum-proof cat feeder. This would be similar to a racoon-proof feeder like this man built. A few tips for building a feeder to keep possums away include:
- Build it 40 inches off the ground. This will allow cats, which are excellent jumpers, to jump up to get food. Possums are good climbers, but they can’t jump very high compared to cats.
- Wrap the bottom of the feeder with a metal sheet. Since possums are good climbers, you need some kind of material that will be hard to climb. A metal or plastic sheet works well for this.
- Place the feeder away from any trees, rails, or any place a possum could climb up to and then into the feeder.
Keep Possums Away From Your House
Another strategy to keep possums away from cat food is to keep possums from living near your house. This isn’t usually necessary since, according to the Opossum Society of the United States, possums are wanderers and don’t usually stay in the same place for long.
Still, if you do find that the same possum is staying on your property, you can discourage it by preventing access to food and nesting places.
Pick up fallen fruit and don’t leave pet food where a possum could get it. Seal up any holes in the siding of your house, trim bushes and shrubs, and keep firewood stack neatly. This can prevent possums from finding a place to make a nest.
Another way to keep a possum away from cat food is to use a natural repellent. Cat fur can sometimes scare possums away. Motion-activated lights and sprinklers is another effective method.
Is Cat Food Bad for Possums?
While some speculate consuming garbage and pet food can cause obesity, the occasional cat food is probably not bad for possums. In fact, veterinarians trained to rescue wildlife sometimes feed carnivores (animals that eat meat) cat food or dog food and herbivores (animals that eat plants) rabbit or monkey food.
Since possums are omnivores (eating both meat and plant-based foods) cat food should not be the only food in a possum’s diet.
They also need plenty of calcium in their diet or they may develop Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). Regardless, you should not purposefully feed wildlife or try to raise wild animal infants—no matter how cute they are! In some cases this can even result in a heavy fine. However, if you believe a wild animal is in danger, is injured, or is in need of rescue, contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
Possums actually can be beneficial to humans by eating nuisances like ticks and poisonous snakes. However, for cat owners, our pet’s safety is the more important consideration.
Fortunately, possums are very unlikely to attack a cat. The diseases they may carry may be of a concern, so it is best to keep your pets away from possums and from any contact with their feces or urine.
This may include removing food like cat food at least during the night when possums are the most active. Another way to keep possums away from cat food and from your property is to find ways of making your home less attractive to possums.
You can take away access to food and shelter or use a natural repellent that is safe for your own pet. All these strategies can help keep your cat safe and free to roam around your possum-free property.