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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2013, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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How to feed secretly?

Does anybody know how to feed ferals without attracting raccoons? And yes, I know about those platform on poles they can’t climb, but I don’t have the money/materials/tools to make or get them.


I have been feeding a colony (well, after raccoon attacks last spring it’s down to 2 cats now) for the last 3 years. Even though I put the kibble in one of those air-tight seal bins at sunset, the raccoons still come to the station and rummage for stuff because of the smell.

The other day I got donated some canned food. I figured I would keep them with the kibble to make it easier/faster to feed before I go to volunteer at the cat shelter. The empty cans are thrown in a recycle bin.
I got home from work the other day, and my dad was livid! “You left cans out, and the raccoons got into them!” (a few swear words punctuated his statement). I said “I only have empty cans they could get to”. “No, those full ones!” He demanded I go clean up the mess and forbade me to feed anymore (he actually told me to stop feeding when I had started, because I was doing it on the patio and he didn’t want the cats (and other critters) at the house, so I moved the feral station to the edge of our acre yard over by the neighbor’s old wood shed. Several times he keeps saying he didn't want me to, but it was more of a request...this time it was a DEMAND).
Much to my surprise, raccoons CAN claw/bite through aluminum cans! There were holes ripped in them as if they had been cardboard!
He’s also mad because the raccoons don’t get much from my station, so then they go to the nearby garden and strip the corn and ruin other veggies. And yes, my dad has put Critter Ridder around the garden – obviously, it doesn’t work.

SO! I figure for now I can secretly feed at the patio again, because Zazzle will come there looking for extras. I can hide the bowl somewhere behind my rocking chair or the grill or something, and take it away every night. But I figure the raccoons will still smell stuff.
Also, what do I do about winter? My dad will see the tracks always coming to the house, and know I’m still feeding. Plus, only Zazzle dares to come to the house…I’ve never seen Tangelo come very far into our yard – he stays at the edge, and in the woods.

I am going to set the trap to get the raccoons and have them euthanized (by law I can, since they’re being a nuisance in our garden). I wonder if I should just do Zazzle too, because I hate the thought of her starving in the winter if I can’t find a good solution to this. Tangelo won’t go in the trap though, because I tried for the first 2 years to get him so he could be neutered! (I got Zazzle done).

I could also just stop feeding as “requested”. Though I’m not sure if cats will eventually move on if a food source disappears? They’ve been here for 3 years so far, it’s sort of an established territory/resource.

And I can’t move out because for one thing, I’m disabled and have nowhere to go (was very afraid my dad was going to just kick me out the other day!). Plus, if I move out, the cats wouldn’t be fed anymore, anyway!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2013, 05:03 AM
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I'm not understanding. Why were the full unopened cans left outside in the first place? I would stop feeding until you get your own place
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2013, 08:39 AM
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I wish everybody loved cats as much as you obviously do, because then we wouldn't have a stray and feral population.

Looking at the problem heartlessly, it seems like the best way to handle feral cats is to get them spayed/neutered and vaccinated, but do not feed them - that way they will displace the unaltered feral cats from the environment. But I believe the humane society advocates feeding ferals along with the trap neuter release. So I don't know.

But I would probably stop feeding, if it is causing a problem.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2013, 08:53 AM
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I would also stop feeding if it is causing a rift between dad and you. As long as you live there, you are bound by his rules - he owns the house. When you move out you can feed all the animals you want, until then, well he makes the rules.

You could install a tall feeding station with a predator guard around it to keep the raccoons out. Raccoons can't jump far but they can climb like crazy! Make it tall enough to keep the raccoons out but short enough for a cat to jump up to. This one costs $45 from Amazon. To answer your original thread question, "how do you feed secretly?", well you don't, you make it impossible for the raccoons to get to the food and you ASK permission to continue to feed if the raccoon problem is solved.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2013, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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3gatos "I'm not understanding. Why were the full unopened cans left outside in the first place?"
Yeah, that was a bad idea in hindsight. I sort of figured since they were metal that they couldn't be bothered...I had no idea teeth/claws could get through them! It takes all MY strength just to get them open with a can opener! (it's why I like the pop-top kind)

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I tried for 2 years to get Tangelo trapped, but he's just too smart. This is why I'm not sure he'd go in there now, even for being euthanized. Zazzle got spayed 2 years ago when I started taking care of the ferals. These are the only 2 I have. Ever so often I'll see a new cat, but only Tangelo and Zazzle seem to be permanent residents.

I guess I will just stop feeding them. They'll be okay now, but once the little prey critters start hibernating for winter, I'm going to feel soooo sad!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2013, 01:04 AM
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I got kicked out of an apartment complex for feeding a few strays for the same reason that your dad wants you to stop (it was ok; I was perfectly happy to move).

I had the same problem here, leaving food out for my stray (raccoons, I mean - not getting kicked out). There was also an opossum - ick. I just started taking the food back in right after Casper was done eating, and the critters stopped coming around after a couple of weeks.

Will the cats not approach at all if they see you? The only thing I can think of is to watch from a distance until they stop eating and then take the food away immediately.

Perhaps your dad would be ok with that, since the raccoons probably don't come while the cats are eating - at least mine didn't.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2013, 12:56 PM
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Its morally wrong to TNR and not continue to support them with food. Many of you have never encountered a starving cat. Its HEARTBREAKING.

The raccoons tore into the cans!!!! Amazing. Can you trap the raccoons and relocate them to an area more than 10 miles away with a pond or lake. That is what an animal rehabbed suggested to me.

daughters have a way of getting what they want. Work out a compromise with your dad. Let him know this is your passion. Don't go down without a fight per say! You've done amazing work with your ferals. Id hate to see you have to give it up. Plus it will be hard for them to find a reliable food source.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-01-2013, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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I know this is a late reply.

Yup, I broke down and started feeding them at the patio again. And of course my dad caught me... he came out the back door JUST as Zazzle had started to eat (and of course she ran off) and I told him I take the bowl back inside right after they're done eating.
Which is sort of a lie. I leave a bowl of kibble out from about 10am until 5pm. I do take the bowl back inside. Then if I see either Zazzle or Tangelo ANY time, I also put out a bowl of canned food and leave it for an hour. If it's not finished off by then, I just give it to my inside cats.

My dad didn't say anything this last time, when I told him I bring everything back inside right away, unless you count an exasperated sigh, shaking of the head and a scowl as "saying" anything :/
So I guess I don't need to worry about him seeing the tracks in the snow now. I do wonder if the kitties will want to trek 1/2 an acre through waist-deep (to them...ankle deep for me) just for one bowl of food...?

My new schedule at the cat shelter is later, so I've been sleeping in. To get the raccoons, I'd have to set the trap at night and then call at Animal Control 8am to have them euthanized/disposed and I rarely wake up before 9am. Yes I could just leave them in the trap for an extra hour, but that's mean... sure they're evil little critters, but they're still a living being and I don't want to be mean to them either! :/
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-01-2013, 05:23 AM
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Hmmm, you trap the raccoons so they can be euthanized but you don't want to leave them in a trap for an extra hour because you don't want to be mean???? Am I missing something here?

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-03-2013, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcia View Post
Hmmm, you trap the raccoons so they can be euthanized but you don't want to leave them in a trap for an extra hour because you don't want to be mean???? Am I missing something here?
Marcia, in this case I have to agree with Vivid Dawn...
Those cute little and sometimes not so little masked bandits can be downright vicious!
When they are where they are supposed to be--they are cute!!
When they are where they're not supposed to be...it can be downright scary!
I had a huge mother raccoon with 3 half grown kits that tried to do in a mama cat and her kittens...
Its a long story, so won't go into it...
But it definitely changed my mind about everyone living in harmony!
Raccoons carry a lot of diseases as well, and can do serious damage to even a very large dog...
That's my two cents worth!

"A Cat must have three different names:
An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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