Ants can be pretty nasty critters since they have the bad habit of getting through any nook and cranny they can find and infest your home. When they get into your cat’s food, it can be even more unpleasant, so if you’re on the lookout for a solution, check it out here.
Ants aren’t toxic to cats, but your pet won’t like having his or her food invaded by these pesky insects. As a result, your cat will start eating less, and you will have more headaches than you need. Plus, the ants won’t stop at cat food, and they will surely crawl all over the place, in search of food.
Eliminate the possibility for the ants to reach the cat food bag
It can be pretty convenient to keep the cat food you bought in the same bag it came in, but that’s not such a great idea for a variety of reasons. For starters, if the bag is not easy to seal back, the food inside can grow stale. Also, if it’s always open, ants will find it, as that is what they do.
Start by eliminating the constant temptation. Move the cat food from the bag to a plastic container that seals perfectly. This way, you will not expose your cat food to the greedy ants that are trying to invade it in throngs.
There are even airtight containers that are specially designed for cat food, so you won’t have any trouble finding the right ones.
Be a bit religious about washing your cat’s food bowl
In case you already keep the cat food in a sealed container, there may be other things that attract the ants. For instance, if you notice that ants tend to be attracted to the cat’s food bowl, you should focus your attention on that. Teach your cat to eat at regular hours, and, once he or she shows no more interest in food, pick up the bowl and wash it.
A good idea is to wash the water bowl, too, and to clean around, as some food might fall on the floor, and become a point of attraction for ants. When you clean your cat’s bowls, make sure that you use a detergent that is safe for animals. Rinse with plenty of water, as any chemical smell will put off your cat from using the same bowls again.
Keep the floors clean
Ants will find their way to your cat’s food bowl, but not so easily if there are some obstacles in the way. If you clean the floor in the kitchen or the area where your cat feeds with a special cleaner with a lemon scent, the ants won’t be that determined to walk across it, just to reach the food your cat normally eats.
Vinegar is another scent that ants are not crazy about. As long as you use natural repellents for ants, you will know that they won’t be such a big issue.
Move the cat’s bowl to another place
Sometimes, ant infestations can be so resilient that you might feel like you are fighting a losing battle, cleaning and wiping all the time, both the cat’s bowls and the floors. In that case, until you deal with the ant infestation, you should consider moving the cat’s bowl around.
Ants have memory, and they will go to the same place. If they don’t find the source of food where it was supposed to be, they won’t find where you moved it right away.
Use natural repellents to create a barrier
There are many different things that ants don’t like, and you can use those to create a natural barrier between them and your cat’s food. For instance, as already mentioned, ants don’t like vinegar and lemon scents that much. Spraying some of such substances around the cat’s bowl may prevent them from marching forward and infesting the food.
Other substances are natural repellents for ants. A simple line of chalk drawn around the feeding area might keep them away. The same goes for cinnamon, ash, or chili powder.
Ants don’t like slippery surfaces
Another solution that might cause a bit of mess, but it’s quite useful for keeping ants away from your cat’s food bowl is to smear some petroleum jelly around it. That will create a slippery surface on which the ants will have great trouble walking on; they will naturally give up. Therefore, you will solve the problem, too.
The strong smells of essential oils are a solution, too
Ants are not crazy about strong scents, which is why essential oils should be on your list, too. Peppermint oil is a solution, as is grapefruit oil. Any citrus-based oil works for this purpose. You could wipe the area where your cat feeds with a bit of water mixed with a few drops of essential oils that ants don’t like.
However, you should bear in mind that essential oils can be toxic for your cat. You should never use them undiluted with water or on a surface where your cat might lick by accident.
Use ant baits and traps
When ants become a problem, there are always other solutions you can try. For instance, there are many commercial ant baits and traps that lure these insects and kill them. They contain potent poison, so make sure that they’re not placed somewhere kids and pets could find them.
A good idea to prevent such problems is to place the bait inside a box or behind a wall. There should be only a tiny opening for them to pass through, as they will surely find their way.
Throw away the infested food
If the ants have already managed to get inside the food bag, don’t bother to get them out. The chances are that a few will survive, anyway, and you won’t solve the issue. Instead, just seal the bag and take it outside. This way, you will ensure that the ants won’t find their way back inside, and they will remain trapped there.
Wash everything, and clean the floors and the area where the food bag was. Eliminate all the ants you can find, as they are quite resilient and missing just a few will allow the entire colony to return.
Create a natural moat
Ants can reach only areas they can walk on. That means that they can’t swim, and that’s something for you to exploit to your advantage. Find a container that you can fill with water and place your cat’s bowl inside. The water barrier should not be very large, or it will prevent your cat from using the bowl as intended.
This natural moat will be an excellent barrier that will prevent the ants from reaching the cat’s bowl. Around one inch of water surface is enough to stop ants from coming.
One awesome thing is that some companies making pet bowls have already thought about this problem, and they created cat food bowls with an incorporated moat. So, there’s no need for you to improvise. You can just grab one of these bowls and keep the ants away.
Don’t forget to replace the moat water once in a while. Bits of food will land there, and you might also find some dead ants floating in it. As with anything else concerning your cat’s feeding area, just keep it clean.
Is there a problem if your cat eats ants?
No matter how careful you may be, you may notice that some ants still manage to get into your cat’s food. Most cats will stay away from a bowl filled with these crawlers, but some may not mind and even eat a few.
As a pet owner, you may wonder right away whether your cat is in any danger. That’s totally legitimate. However, you should know that ants are not toxic to cats, as they aren’t for humans, either. Eating a few won’t cause your pet any harm.
Nonetheless, if you use pest control, you must be aware that pesticides can get in the digestive system of ants, and from there, in case your pet eats them, in the cat’s stomach, as well. Pesticides could cause some problems, as a result.
Therefore, many pet owners prefer natural methods to repel ants. There have been quite a few mentioned here, and you can always make a little more research to find natural methods for getting rid of these insects.