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Cat eating food

Home Forums Carers / rescuing a hedgehog Cat eating food

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    Recently discovered next door’s cat is eating all the food I put in several hog feeders.
    I’ve been feeding for a couple of years now and know up till recently it was the hedgehogs eating the food ( just observation and infra red camera).
    But I recently had a problem with a rat. Briefly I saw an unusual hole and set the camera to watch. It picked up a rat. Not wanting to risk harming any hogs I set a humane trap, caught the rat and released it in the local quarry. I set the camera a while longer but seems it was just one rat.
    So I put the camera inside one of the feeders and caught the cat actually inside!
    Set it in another and same thing. So yesterday I made the tunnel smaller but it still got in. I’m going to have another go at making a feeder with more twists and bends and put an obstacle near the entrance. But if that doesn’t work I’m will have to stop feeding as I have no intention of feeding the cat.
    Any ideas please?


    Hi Pushtheriver,
    We have tried just about everything to stop the neighbourhood cats from eating the hogs dinner. Shallow troughs of water positioned at right angles across the entrance, leaving just enough room for the hogs to get through, can be effective but a bit unsightly. We eventually went the whole ‘hog’ (pardon the pun!) and made a custom feeding station with small entrance holes (10.5cm Wide x 9.5cm high) and a baffle at either end. It was very easy to make with ready cut lengths of timber and marine ply. The hogs love it and there have been no feline insurgents as of yet.

    Good luck. 🙂

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    Hi pushthedriver and Penny

    I had a similar problem.

    I thought Penny’s box was brilliant, especially having two entrances. I have a box with a similar entrance and I, too, thought it was cat proof. I was wrong. A quite large cat managed to get in there one night and ate all the food. A hoglet then decided to make a nest in the box.

    I got a friend to make another box with the same dimensions, but with an extra partition, so not only did the cat have to keep bending round, but the end chamber was quite small for a cat to turn round in. You’ve guessed it, a different cat (also quite large) managed to get in there too. I thought that for a feed box, maybe the height was the problem. If it was only just low enough for a hog it would make it more difficult for the cat. I put a half brick in the first corner and so far that seems to have worked. A cat has been seen half way in, but, so far, no further. The hog has no problem getting over it. If I was going to have another box (specifically for food) I would try to get it shallower.

    I usually use hog food which cats aren’t supposed to like, but it seems one or two don’t mind what they eat. Unfortunately the rat also liked the hog food, so for the time being, I have switched to kitten biscuits and so far the rat hasn’t been back.

    Re. the humane trap. I have heard of hedgehogs getting caught in them too. Ok it doesn’t kill the animal, but not very pleasant for a hog if it was caught in one all night, especially at this time of year.


    Good morning Penny and thanks for the response.
    I’m not ready to give up yet!
    Your set up looks pretty good.
    It looks like what I have in mind with an overall lower profile ( my feeder stations were built to double as houses because I overwinter hogs for the local rescue centre to free up some of their space.
    However I’ll get in the shed at the weekend and knock together a new feeder only station.
    I’m thinking of making the holes and passages considerably smaller than the 13-15cm usually advised; my theory being if I don’t keep the cats out I’ll be forced to quit because I’m buying Iams premium food which is not cheap (from Bitaba in bulk which saves a fortune) and I would be just wasting my money (and time). At least with smaller passages if it keeps the cats out all but the largest hogs should gain access and the larger ones are more able to survive without our help.


    Hi Nic
    All good info thanks.
    Re the trap. I have fed the garden birds for over 30 years in this house on a fairly industrial scale! The rewards are a garden full of movement and visits by over 30 species over the years with regular Nuthatches , woodpeckers, all the finches and most of the tit family, ducks, pheasants, partridges, kestrels, sparrow hawks (you get the picture). I started keeping a few (3 ) chickens a few years ago as do a number of near neighbours. (The chickens have all gone now)
    I’d never seen a rat in all the time I’ve lived in the property but one day a notice from the local authority was pushed through the door advising that a report of rats had been submitted. I understand the notice went to everyone but I took action and bought a number of galvanised bins for all the various feeds. Thankfully we heard no more and so presumably the rat problem was dealt with at another address.
    However when I saw that I had a rat hole on my property (I caught it on camera) I was fearful that I could be forced to stop feeding not only the hogs but the birds as well. I took the view that being able to continue helping the hundreds of birds and many local hogs thrive would be worth the risk that a hog or other creature had an uncomfortable night.
    As it happens the trap did the trick without any problem and even the rat got to live another day! Win win

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    Hi pushthedriver

    A similar thing happened not far from here once. Someone who fed the hogs was told they had to stop because it was attracting rats. So I always dread a rat appearing. Like you, luckily, they have made surprisingly few appearances, and have usually given up if life was made difficult for them.

    But, I can see why you wanted to use the trap. Someone like you, who has a lot to do with hogs, etc. would no doubt make sure that nothing was in the trap too long, but not everyone is as careful and a lot of people don’t realise hogs can get caught in them too. I borrowed one once, years ago, but I was so worried that a hog might get caught that I only set it during the daytime (that particular rat was sometimes seen during the day). Needless to say, nothing was caught! I’m really pleased it worked out well for you and hope you have no more rat visitors for a while. It would be very sad if you couldn’t feed all those birds and hedgehogs.

    Good luck with the new feeding box. Let us know how you get on.


    Hi Penny,

    Could you give some more dimensions of your custom feeding station please ?

    We’ve tried all sorts of combos on feeding stations and are struggling with cats. I love your station which looks attractive as well as functional.

    Overall length
    Overall width
    Width between end wall and baffle walls i.e. Space to walk

    Got rooks nicking the bird food and cats nicking the hog food, struggling to get food where it’s needed at a time it’s needed most.


    Hi Nina,

    Sorry to hear that you are still having problems with cats and the rooks sound like a nuisance too. The jackdaws and crows here will take whole fat balls if they get the chance!

    The cats here don’t even attempt to get into the feeding station anymore, the only drawback being that you can’t see the hogs inside, but I suppose that you could always use a piece of clear Perspex for the front section. It turns out that the lengths of timber purchased as 9”x 1” and 7” x 1” inches measure a few millimetres less (a bit like the shrinking chocolate bars!) so most of the measurements are approximate, but the critical ones that you mention, width & length of baffles etc are accurate. The feeding station is quite large because it was built to accommodate an automatic feeder for when we go on holiday, but in the end it still wasn’t big enough. Thankfully we have a kind neighbour who now steps in to feed them. Good luck! 🙂

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    Hi Nina

    Nice to see you back on the Forum, I was wondering where you had go to!

    There is just one thing I would add re. Penny’s box. Don’t be tempted to make the entrances any bigger, even though they seem quite small. My box is similar inside, but has two corridors near the entrance, one only 10cm wide and the cat still got in. The only difference is that the entrance on mine is a bit bigger. If all else fails, the half brick I put in the first corner seems to be deterring them so far.

    I really like Penny’s idea of having two entrances, so that if something else should get in, there is an escape route.

    Good luck.


    Thank you, I have given the blueprints to the man that can, fingers crossed I should have a new feeding station asap.

    Hi Nic, glad to be back. It’s been very quiet here looking forward to seeing some more life in the garden, having said that the birds have kept us busy. We had 6 female pheasants and a male on Friday afternoon! Where were all these birds on the big garden birdwatch.

    I signed the 2 petitions the response so far is disappointing ☹️. I’m hoping there are lots more hoggy champions who’ve been hibernating themselves over the winter, who may not have signed them yet. If all champions signed along with there partners we can reach the 100,000 required for consideration for debate surely. Please read the petitions.

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    That’s exactly what I thought re. the Big Garden Bird Watch. ‘ Where were all the birds that day’. They were all here in large numbers during the cold spell but it has quietened down a bit since the snow has thawed.

    I have been lucky (or unlucky, depending how you look at it) to have hog all winter (fun and games trying to make sure there was food for him before one of the 5 visiting cats and a rat ate it). Thank goodness he is now back to his usual self. He was very subdued when he returned after 2 days absence because of the snow.

    I agree, the petitions are disappointing – if things continue as they are, neither will succeed. I keep a close eye on them and have noticed that when BHPS put a cute photo of a hog with some good wording on Twitter, numbers for theirs go up, but when it slips down the page they go right down again. I’m not on Twitter, just look at it via the home page of Hh street. Not sure how we get everyone motivated. But something needs to happen. Like you, I am hoping post-hibernation numbers might pick up. 40 something thousand registered on Hedgehog Street.


    Thank you so much for the feeding station info, finished one today going to leave it a day or two to properly harden off and make sure any smell goes although it was water based stain. Looks great will pop a picture up if I can workout how.


    Hi Nina,

    To upload photos or videos, as far as I can tell, they have to be stored somewhere else on the internet such as Flickr, Youtube or twitter.

    I was a bit late topping up the rations last night and when I opened the lid to the feeding station Bruno was already there and he’s huge! It just goes to show that even the largest hogs can squeeze through the smallest of gaps. A second hog returned last night, it liked the feeding station, but I don’t think it was too impressed with the camera!

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