Help to stop cats getting in the Hedgehog box please?
28th July 2019 at 7:27 pm #16944
I made a hedgehog feeding station from a clear plastic storage box and our 3 hedgehogs have been visiting it every night to fill their bellies with Spike’s food.
The only problem is, the next-door neighbour’s cat has now figured out that he can squeeze himself through the entrance and has been helping himself to the Hoggy food.
I’ve tried placing bricks 6 inches in front of the entrance but that still didn’t prevent the cat from winding his body around the bend and getting into the box.
I’ve considered buying a wooden hedgehog tunnel but there have been mixed reviews, some said that it’s stopped cats and others said that cats have still managed to get in through the tunnel.
So, I really don’t know what to do at this point.
I thought about using a plastic duct pipe, 5” in diameter with a 90 degree bend on the end attached to the hedgehog box. Would a round duct pipe be suitable or not?
Or does anyone have any other ideas or recommendations?
Rachel29th July 2019 at 7:29 am #16947
I’ve found that you can make the entrance smaller than you think would be sufficient cos our spikey friends are genius contortionists where food is involved. Mine has an entrance about 4″ high by about 4.5″ wide (sorry for using inches, my hogs refuse to use metric entrances). Herewith a pic of one of the gang emerging from mine; the bird feeder right in front is an additional cat deterrent and seems to work….
That is Cassandra who is not a particularly big hog but the huge brutes manage to squeeze through here as well. The cats however have yet to go in there. The distance of the bird feeder is quite crucial to success and needed some experimentation!
Herewith a movie from the side and you can see what a squeeze it is for the hogs. In this one I had just moved the box and at first Cassandra was annoyed as she couldn’t find the way in but then you can see the big squeeze to get in. I have a big hog >1kg who manages to get in as well.
Zero cat invasions this year despite much interest being shown. I also have a blackbird who goes in to steal Spikes Dinner!1st August 2019 at 10:34 pm #17042
Thanks for showing me the pic and the video. I love that you’ve named her Cassandra, she’s adorable.
We have one huge hedgehog that visits, I just call him Biggy. Then two other smaller adults but I can’t really tell them apart so they don’t have individual names, they’re both just known as Hoggy. Then we have a baby one which we just call Baby Hoggy. I’m not very creative with names haha.
I think I have solved the cat problem. I rearranged the bricks around the box entrance and made a narrower passageway, it seems to have done the trick so far. Fingers crossed!
I watched the trail camera footage this morning and the cat visited three times during the night but was unsuccessful at getting in the box. 🙂2nd August 2019 at 12:29 am #17046
Hi WilliamC – I’m wondering if I should do the same as you and make my entrance smaller.
What happened is that I bought a plastic storage box, much like yours in your photo – similar size and height – and cut out a 13cm by 13cm square hole (as recommended by Hegdgehog Street) but couldn’t find any duct tape in my nearby stores, so ended up cutting some wood, into a nice neat square, nailing it together, which fitted snuggly inside the hole and secured it by drilling holes it into the box and securing it with garden string – and the cats didn’t go in, but did try as I’d find white cat hairs stuck to the wood.
Because I used wood around the edges, it reduced the hole to 4 by 4 inch. I didn’t need to use tunnels and bricks to make things more complicated for the cats.
But then I got nervous and thought I’d better follow advice on Hedgehog Street – took the wood off, found some duct tape and taped the edges – so now the hole is back to 5 inch by 5 inch – and have had to create a tunnel using bricks, with a wooden top, with a heavy stone on the top – but a cat still can squeeze it’s way in – even though I put a bend in the tunnel – so cat has to turn 90 degrees twice. But it’s not working.
However, I’ve been told and have watched a youtube video of Hedgehogs flattening themselves to fit in really small holes, and there is a Hedgehog rescue hospital in my area that advice to make holes in fences 4 inch by 4 inch – so what should I do, do you think I should go back to put the wooden square back in – but also use the tunnel (I like the tunnel as the slugs and snails are using it as a shelter – so makes a nice tasty entrance for the Hogs – I put a bit of Spikes hedgehog food in the tunnel so snails and slugs can eat that and eat less of the food in the hedgehog bowls inside, plus it keeps them off my plants)
Or do you think I should shave a bit off the wood, so it’s 4.5 by 4.5 inch – or do you think I should just buy a new box – and make the hole smaller by 0.5 inch and use duct tape as I am a the moment?
What would you do in my situation?2nd August 2019 at 10:55 am #17051
Hi Hedgie Lover,
Trying to stop the neighbourhood cats from stealing the hedgehogs dinner is a constant battle, their amoeba like bodies seem to be able to contort and twist into the narrowest of gaps; just when you think you have won a new one turns up with even more advanced super natural powers and you are back to square one. Most of the hedgehog holes in our garden measure around 3 ½” inches high x 4 ¼” wide and at least one cat can still squeeze through so an additional brick has been placed in front. Even the largest hogs can still get through without any problems, I have witnessed them squeeze into much smaller gaps and having smaller holes also ensures that badgers and foxes can’t gain entrance either. I used to take a fairly relaxed approach to the neighbourhood felines as long as they couldn’t get into the feeding station, but the ruthless assassin now living next door – I have renamed him Genghis! – has changed all that. Despite wearing a bell this once sweet and cuddly kitten has turned into our wildlife’s worst nightmare. He pays little attention to the kitten biscuits under his nose…Oh no, he prefers his meals with a pulse! Over the last few weeks he has revelled in leaving his latest lifeless victims outside our front door including fledgling songbirds, a frog and wood mouse, even his feline house mate gives him a wide berth! Thankfully, most of the garden is surrounded by hawthorn and pyracantha hedging so with just a bit of extra cat-proofing, only the most determined cats can now gain access. As a result the hogs can now dine al fresco which they seem to prefer – even in the rain – the food in the feeding station is barely touched. 🙂2nd August 2019 at 11:55 am #17053
Genghis sounds like a nightmare, when I had a cat when I lived with my mum he went through a phase of killing birds every night and dragging them in, once he brought in a frog but thankfully didn’t kill it.
I think what I’ll do is put the wooden square back on, and if all the hedgehogs can still get in – I’ll just leave it on.
Thankfully the cats don’t seem to come into my garden in the night time- just early evening, and they seem to prefer the dog food, so I put the dog food out as late as I can after 11pm or later – so it gives the hedgies a chance to get to it first – the dog food is the most popular and gets wolfed down in one go – whereas the dried food lasts all night – and often some left over.6th August 2019 at 8:45 pm #17128
Genghis sounds like a real charmer!
Has he had his bits off?8th August 2019 at 11:42 pm #17185
Sweep, my mum’s cat, had his bits chopped off, and still went on a murder spree – it was a phase he went through. He’d stop for a while, and then he’d go through another phase that would last a few months, killing something either nightly or weekly. Other than that he was a really loving cat and very protective of the guinea pigs and made a nice companion for the house rabbit. The rabbit used to show off in front of him, and Sweep used to spend each night enjoying the rabbit jumping around and doing other daft rabbit stuff.
BTW, I put the square back on the entrance of the feeding station, secured it this time with duct tape, but it fits snuggly in, so my entrance is back to 4 by 4inch which is probably a bit too small, but the hedgehogs seem to have no problem fitting inside. However, they seam to have grown a little bit since last month, and I wonder if they grow any more they might struggle.
However, it’s kept the cats away, so it’s staying on for the time being.9th August 2019 at 1:12 am #17190
Hi Hedgie Lover, the hole in my box is 4inch x 4inch with tape round the edges. The wood frame you made sounds great and as I’ve got Big Benny, who is the largest hog around and he gets in with no trouble at all and manages to then get round two bricks! I have one brick behind another in front of the hole as I discovered the cats could push 1 brick backwards enabling them to squeeze in and round the brick to paw at the food to bring it closer to them. It won’t stop a kitten, but the cats here have given up. Best wishes.9th August 2019 at 1:31 am #17191
That’s really good news Annker,
So I’ll think I’ll keep my wooden square on as when it was off, the cats were getting in every day and would also push the bricks and lift up the wooden lid (on top of the bricks outside the entrance) – even though I put a pretty heavy big stone on top – but now the 4 by 4 inch hole seems to be the only deterrent for these acrobatic cats.
I love the names people give to their hedgehogs, like Big Benny. I don’t know yet which hedgehog is which, there is two that are quite distinguishable from the others, so I should really find a suitable name for them. I did call one of them Hoggy at first during the first week of feeding them, but I soon realised Hoggy was one of a few hedgehogs, so at the moment, they are all called Hoggy.18th July 2020 at 11:17 am #25768
Just a word of caution. I visited this post (more than once) for ideas to try to stop a cat getting in both our hedgehog feeding stations. One one night had eaten all the food before the hogs got there. I tried all the suggestions to no avail.
Then I took a step back and watched the cat’s behaviour. It wasn’t one I knew belonged to a neighbour. The other cats (our 3 and at least 5 others visit the garden made no attempt to get into the station. This cat wasn’t greedy, it was starving.
I then looked on all the various lost and found websites, and discovered this cat had been missing for over 5 weeks. Luckily, due to our hog cameras, we were able to identify the cat and predict her behaviour. Her owners came that evening and she was reunited with them.
I’m sure there are greedy cats out there, but I am so glad I thought again about this one. Now the cat is back with her family, and our multiple hogs can eat the food intended for them.18th July 2020 at 12:08 pm #25771
Good point, naomik. Although the ones here at the moment are regular visitors and look disgustingly well fed! But I had a stray one here years ago, who eventually adopted me and wheedled his way into my house, despite having some rather dubious habits. Maybe why he was a stray! No reports of missing cats matching his description around at the time. But a good thing to bear in mind.21st August 2020 at 1:03 am #26666
I had problems with a cat getting in the feeding station. The hole was 4 inches squared but since adding an entrance tunnel 4 inches wide by 3 inches high, approximately over a foot long, cats seem to stay clear. I used a patio slab and stone bricks. We weighed the plastic feeding station down with 2 bricks so it couldn’t be manoeuvred. I did try a cat repeller/sensor but it frightened the hedgehog so this has been abandoned.21st August 2020 at 1:10 am #26667
Hi again 🙂
I forgot to say our hedgies prefer Spike’s “semi-moist” food. The packet looks identical to the normal Spike’s dry food apart from the “semi-moist” wording so be careful when grabbing a bag off the shelves. Like another member we have a cheeky blackbird that likes to eat it too. Ironically, I have seen the hedgehog eating the bird seed so at least they share, ha, ha.21st August 2020 at 11:09 am #26671
I think the length of any tunnel is the critical factor. I use ridge tiles which are semi-circular, 8cm high, 23cm wide and 45cm long. While the hedgehogs have no fear/problem with such a structure, the cats take a look, have a sniff and move on. Never had a cat that even attempted to go through the tunnel, while the hogs don’t hesitate and are right through it in no time.
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