Ants in the cat food what do I do?

Cat only eats dry food.
Cat refuses to eat when I am around since that is when I used to grab him and put antibiotics on his sore paw.
Therefore, I must fill up the food bowl and leave.
Cat is also a “grazer” and if I take up the food after a short while (as I had to do when his sister was alive to keep her from eating it) he tends to lose weight.
Cat food bowl is on the third floor of my townhouse.
Nevertheless, I came home to find ants enjoying the leftover cat food.
Despite washing out the bowl, the ants keep coming back.
I am trying to avoid having the cat exposed to insect poison.
Any suggestions?

Obligatory pic here

heh does cat consider said ants (mine were the really tiny ones) to be seasoning for the food as mine used to? i just ended up putting ant traps in the vicinity

If you can put the food bowl in a different room entirely, as far away from the original place as possible, I would confine the cat in there for a while. then treat the original place for ants. I would recomment Terro, it has never failed me and works quickly. Then, a couple of days later, you can try returning the bowl to the original site and routine, and see what happens.

We have used a moat moderately successfully. Slightly wider shallow dish or plate, filled with water. We do have to clear it out fairly regularly, since kibble drops into it and swells up every day. So it’s a bit of a pain, but ants can’t swim! And then when it turns winter, or the ants give up and go somewhere else, we dispense with it

Ants in the cat food, what do I do?
Ants in the cat food, what do I do?
Ants in the cat food, what do I do?
Skip to my Lou, my darling.

You could try Aspidistra’s moat idea. Or it might be enough just to put the food bowl on top of something else relatively small, like a tin can, so that it wasn’t in direct contact with the floor.

** shakes fist at Thudlow Boink **


Trade in the cat for an Anteater, of course.

You could try putting sticky roach traps with a bit of food as bait in the ant trail.

Ants in the cat food, what do I do?
Ants in the cat food, what do I do?
Ants in the cat food, what do I do?
Skip to my Lou, my darling.

I was actually debating posting this as part of the OP since I have been singing it the past 2 days.

I had this problem over the winter as ants found their way into the kitten nursery and the kittens needed 24/7 access to kibble. Baker’s suggestion is a good one, but I want to add two things to it:

  1. Clean the floor and lower walls. The ants have left a pheromone trail for other ants to follow. You need to remove it or they will reappear.

  2. When you return the food dish to the room, place it in a large plastic box that your cat can climb into and eat comfortably. I use an “under-the-bed” storage box. It has kept the kittens from scattering the food, and it keeps the scent of the food contained enough that the few returning ants I have seen, haven’t found the food.

Spray bleach on the floor around the bowl (keep the cat away when you do it and for a few hours afterwards, of course). It’s worked for me.

Killing ants with bleach is fascinating, BTW. It’s not like bug spray, where they wiggle around a bit and die. With bleach, they just stop. It’s like throwing a switch.

You need to wipe down the trail the ants were following. There’s a scent there left by previous ants that keep them coming back.

Also, spray all the base boards in that area with bug spray.

Use the Terro, as Baker suggests. It comes in little packets that a pet or child can’t get into, and it’s cheap. The ants will crowd in to drink it like a bunch of thirsty cowboys in a saloon on Saturday night.

You have to wait a couple of days as they fill up on it and then take it back to their queen and larvae. Then they’ll suddenly vanish.

Another fan of Terro.

Does the cat object to the ants’ presence? If not, let the six-legged protein morsels trot about.

My vote’s for the put the food dish in a pan of water technique. No poisons necessary; no spending money on poisons necessary; guaranteed no risk to the cat. Use a food-safe pan, as the cat may drink the water.

I also once wrapped tape, sticky side out, around the bottom of the legs of the table the cats eat on (I usually also have a dog, so the cat food needs to be up on a table.) That also worked.

Lysol spray does the same thing. We had tons of sugar ants this year going after the cat’s food. I just kept spraying them and their trail along the baseboard and eventually they gave up.

Another vote for Terro. Used it numerous times since our house gets ants whenever the ground gets flooded or early spring in the thaw and Terro always solves it within a day or two. Used it around the cat for years without incident.

Put down bay leaves where it seems the ants are coming from.

I have solved this problem two ways. The first time, I put the food bowl on a little stand with legs. It isn’t impossible for ants to figure that out, but apparently it is a lot more difficult for them.

Now, pretty much the same concept, I use the little food bowl kit from my gf’s dead dog- which, I think, also gives her some extra connection to my cat. A food bowl and a water bowl fit into their little holders, just a couple inches off the ground. I will still get ants in the kitchen sometimes when kitty knocks over the trash can and drags food onto the floor, but they don’t seem to figure out to climb up and into the bowl.

Skip to my loo!