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Cats eating hedgehog food

Home Forums Champions’ chat Cats eating hedgehog food

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    We’ve been feeding a hedgehog in our garden for the last year and we’re delighted that it has now moved into the hog house at the bottom of the garden. The bad news is that there are a couple of cats that have started to come into the garden to eat the food. We bought another hedgehog house to use as a feeder thinking that the cats wouldn’t be able to get inside but as these cats are quite young and slim they do seem to be able to squeeze in there. We even added an additional tunnel to the entrance – this may have stopped them going in through the door so now they’re trying to destroy/dislodge the lid.
    I was thinking of trying something like a citrus spray to deter the cats but will this put the hedgehog off too? Does anyone have any other ideas for humane ways to keep the pesky kitties away?


    I have three young cats who will eat the hog food if given the chance, even though their own food is always available! I’ve got over this by building a simple shelter. It’s just a large sheet of clear polycarbonate (about 800mm square) with a post at each corner. The post is about 120mm tall which lifts the “roof” just high enough off the ground for a hog to walk under unhindered but the cats would have to crawl quite a way on their tummies to get at the food – so they don’t. It also has the advantage of keeping the food dry should it rain.

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    Hi Kar

    I wouldn’t want to use citrus spray, or the like, with hogs around. They rely heavily on their sense of smell so could potentially find it very unpleasant.

    I had the same problem with a wooden feed box. The cat managed to lift the lid. So I now just put more bricks on top. I also found that quite a large cat managed to get in, despite it having to double back on itself twice. I solved the problem by putting bricks inside the feeder ‘corridors’ to make it shallower in those places. My logic was that if the cat could make itself thin one way it needed space the other way, so making it shallower might work. It did, but not until there were 2 and half bricks (in a row) along the double back ‘corridor’. At that time it was vitally important for the hog to have access to food – it was winter and he didn’t hibernate. He managed to negotiate perfectly easily and the cat was no longer a problem.

    Lewisdad’s solution sounds a good idea too and has the advantage that you would be able to see the hogs more easily. If I was starting from scratch again, I might do something similar and you could use bricks instead of posts, with bricks on top to prevent possibility of lifting. That could easily be put to one side during the day.

    Good luck. Let us know how you get on.



    lewisdad – That sounds like a good solution thanks – I might try this if all else fails with the wooden feeder.



    Thanks Nic – your logic makes sense so maybe a few bricks inside will do the trick. I have also put a tray of water outside the entrance and then stood and watched one evening as the hog just walked through it. Maybe another tray on the roof might deter the cats if they try to lift the lid – we already put a heavy brick on top but it’s always dislodged in the morning.

    Need to hook up a camera to see what they’re doing!



    A quick update – we put a tray of water on the lid of the feeder (as well as a heavy brick) and it seems to have done the trick. No signs of the lid being dislodged and the cats are probably too big to squeeze in through the tunnel now.
    Interestingly, last night the hog didn’t eat the food – instead it decided to cover it with leaves. Any idea what that might be about?!

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    Hi Kar

    Well done for solving the cat problem!

    Re. the leaves. I think hogs sometimes like to keep us guessing! But maybe thinking of making a nest in there. That’s what happened here last year. In the end I had to have a new feed box and over the next couple of nights, the hog created a beautiful nest of woven grasses and leaves, etc. in the original one. Luckily I had retrieved the bowl after the first night. That still had food in it too.


    I’m a novice with my hedgehogs, but when they first appeared this year, they were inside my ground bird feeders. I’ve used these for years to keep cats and my dogs out, but they are upturned metal square mesh garden incinerators. They were bought in sales etc. The width of the gaps is 7.5cms and the large hog can easily get in and out. I have greenhouse trays used as lids on top to help keep the food dry. These are also good put up against the hedgehog house to keep other animals away, and against gaps in the garden fencing to keep my dogs in.


    My brother and I are so frustrated.
    Since sighting our lovely hedgehog visitor during the summer months, the sightings started to lessen.
    Our wildlife camera didn’t always pick up the hedgehog but it does pick up an increasing amount of neighbouring cat visitors. These annoying visitors not only eat the food and drink the water put out for our hedgehog friend but they also now uses our veggie plots as their public convenience!
    I love cats but I am getting very annoyed with these ones – I know for a fact that all are well fed and cared for by their chosen families.
    My brother and I attempted to make a feeding station under a prickly bush with a tiny wire mesh entrance tunnel also covered in prickly cuttings, we have also tried the wooden hedgehog feeding / hibernation homes, and various cat deterrent items …. it might put the cats off for a few days but then they are back, my concern is trying to find the right deterrent so that the hedgehog isn’t discouraged too.
    So this weekend we are going to attempt to create a feeding station using as plastic box (as described on with the entrance near to a wall and cover my veggie patches with something robust to deter them, the aim will be to encourage all the cats to go elsewhere. Even our garden birds have stopped coming into our little garden – I am determined to win!

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    Hi JFDrake

    I had a problem with cats as well this year, including them getting into boxes with entrances smaller than the size other people have said cats can’t get into. And eating hog food which cats aren’t supposed to like. I also have a hog (still visiting) who doesn’t like going into boxes and prefers to eat out of doors. I seem to have found a solution – so far at least.

    I have a piece of see through plastic/perspex sheeting balanced on top of 3 litre flower pots, filled with earth, at the corners – bricks on top to stop it from blowing away/being lifted by the cats. It has the added advantage that it keeps the food dry if it rains. The hog is quite happy with this arrangement and seems to consider it as still outdoors. A cat did attempt to get under once, but I added a small extension and it hasn’t happened since. So I think as big a piece of perspex as you can manage is probably better (although you may need more pots) I just used what was around. One side against something gives added protection and you can place the food bowls near the back.

    It is so easy to do and clear out of the way for the daytime, and mostly people have flower pots around. You could use a sheet of wood, but the perspex has the advantage of being able to see the hogs through it.

    Since the cats haven’t been able to get at the food, they haven’t been visiting so often. Although that could be the colder weather – time will tell.

    Good luck.

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    Just to add to the above. If you are going to cover your veggie patch, please make very sure that it isn’t covered with anything the hogs can get trapped in. They can easily become tangled in netting, but can also sometimes put their head and front of spines through things and then not be able to reverse back out again and so becoming trapped.

    I have found that putting sticks into the ground fairly close together on exposed soil helps to deter cats from freshly dug soil. Old stalks from herbaceous perrenials can be used for this. The hogs can more easily pick their way between and maybe that sort of area isn’t so interesting to them. Alternatively try keeping the soil damp. Cats prefer dry soil.


    I was given a surveillance camera for Christmas. Having set it up, the picture is so clear. Unfortunately, the alarm function is so sensitive that rain sets it off and my camera pings loudly continuously until I turn it off! My so called cat proof hog house is anything but. Regularly, at about 9.30pm, a black and white cat arrives and squeezes into the hog house, eats the hog foods, exits then sits licking its lips! Having read the posts about using bricks inside the house to make the gaps narrow is a great idea which I shall definitely try.
    When should I expect the return of “my” hedgehog?

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    Hi Prof

    Sounds like the perennial story with the cat!

    Some of the male hedgehogs return as early as March – they tend to hibernate earlier as they don’t have to bother about raising hoglets. The females tend to return later, having hibernated later – here, sometimes as much as a couple of months. But there are, of course, some hedgehogs who aren’t hibernating – I still have one here. So it isn’t all that predictable.


    Is there any food I can put out that the hedgehogs will like but cats will not?

    We have a lot of cats in this estate and I don’t want to this to discourage us feeding the hogs. We don’t have a rural garden, its very much a town setting so am limited as to how we can hide the food.

    Any ideas? Hoping to see our friendly neighbourhood friend again very soon!


    I find that cats don’t eat a whole heap of Spikes Dinner Dry hedgehog food. They’ll nibble it a bit but not eat all of it. Some of them don’t bother with it at all. We do have one local blasted cat that eats a bit more of it but since I’ve put it in feeding station it can’t get at it.

    The cats will eat the semi-moist Spikes Dinner but I save that for when tiny hoglets are about and it always goes in the feeding station.

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