Is Your Cat Food Attracting Rodents and Roaches?

  • Time to read: 10 min.

Cat owners care for their cats carefully, paying attention to the correct and the best food to buy. They often spend a lot of hard-earned money on cat food to keep their cat in peak health. Imagine the horror when you find rats or mice droppings around your cat’s food dish. Cockroaches are another pest that you may encounter. Nobody likes cockroaches, and seeing them scurrying across the kitchen floor is enough to send the bravest soul hopping out the way. You keep your kitchen clean and do your housework regularly, so what could be attracting the rats and cockroaches?

Cat food has a strong odor and contains protein. Cat food that is left out for cats attracts cockroaches and rodents. These pests are both opportunistic scavengers and will eat whatever food they can find. Change your cat feeding habits and store food safely to avoid encouraging rodents and roaches.  

This article will look at whether cat food attracts rodents and roaches and why this occurs. It will also look at how you can prevent these pests from eating the cat food. In addition, information will be given on discouraging and eliminating rodents and roaches from your home.  

What Attracts Rodents Into Houses?

Rats and mice are attracted to houses as they offer shelter and safety, easy access to moisture, and, most importantly, food. You may keep your kitchen spotless, but the food you put out for your cat will attract rodents. Rats and mice are not picky eaters and will eat both canned wet cat food and dry kibble. They use their sense of smell to ferret out food sources. Cats will only eat if they can smell their food. Cat food’s high protein content makes it naturally odorous. These two factors result in cat food that has a distinctive odor to encourage the cats to eat. The same smell that cats like also attracts rodents. 

Rodents urinate as they run around and produce copious amounts of droppings. As you can imagine, this is unhygienic and can cause disease in your cats if they eat food contaminated by rodents.  

Does Cat Food Attract Roaches?

Cockroaches are omnivorous insects and will scavenge on any tiny little scrap of food that they can find. Initially, researchers thought cockroaches did not follow a scent. It has recently been discovered that cockroaches smell food sources with their antennae. Scientists first identified this when they starved roaches and then released them. The roaches ran straight to the food source.

 A delicious bowl of cat food will be a sure way to attract cockroaches. Cockroaches carry pathogens and bacteria on their feet and defecate as they move around. This can make your cat extremely sick. 

Cockroaches Leave Markers For Other Roaches.

Not only do cockroaches smell out food sources, but they also leave pheromone markers that indicate to other cockroaches where food and water may be found. Researchers and pest removal firms can tell you that cockroaches in a house will attract other cockroaches. Their feces is highly attractive to other roaches. One study showed that cockroaches preferred to move over surfaces covered with cockroach feces than over clean surfaces. So, where you have one cockroach – lookout – there are probably more hiding out in cracks and crevices. 

Cockroaches are also attracted to homes as not only do they provide a source of food but also shelter and water. Cockroaches are comfort-loving creatures and prefer a lovely warm house to the cold weather outside. 

How To Keep Rodents & Roaches Away From Cat Food.

The best approach to keeping rodents and cockroaches away from cat food is to limit their access to it. This can be done in several ways.

Lift Cat Food Bowls After Feeding.

It is advisable to feed your cat twice a day. Once the cat has finished eating, wash the bowl with hot soapy water and dry it off. Some people feel that their cats will suffer if they do not have access to food on demand. There are many benefits to feeding your car two meals a day and not leaving food out for the cat to eat at any time. 

  1. Feeding meals allows you to notice quickly if your cat is not eating. Early detection of abnormal behavior caused by illness can lead to rapid intervention by a veterinarian. This will lower veterinary bills and prevent your cat from getting dangerously sick. 
  2. Feeding different meals enable you to control portions in cases where cats are overweight.
  3. In multiple cat households, you can monitor that each cat is eating and that there is no bullying amongst the cats. 
  4. The cat food is clean and fresh when the cat eats it. Pests can leave feces and urine in cat bowls if they eat the cat food. This can make your cat sick as it ingests pathogens with its food. 
  5. It prevents pests such as cockroaches, rodents, and ants from eating the cat food.     

Use A Cat Bowl With A Moat.

There are cat bowls on the market that have a moat around them. The moat is about an inch to an inch and a half wide. It is best to fill this moat with soapy water. The roaches will drown in the water as they try to get to the cat food. The soap washes away the oily layer on a roach’s exoskeleton. The loss of its oily protection will cause the cockroach to become dehydrated and die if they manage to get out of the moat. 

Cat Dog Pet Food Bowl 40 Oz Anti Ants Food Water Bowls Dish for Small to Medium Sized Dogs Cats - With You6688

You can make your own bug-proof cat bowl by placing a small cat dish in a bigger bowl that contains water. 

Cat Dog Pet Food Bowl 40 Oz Anti Ants Food Water Bowls Dish for Small to Medium Sized Dogs Cats - With You6688

Use A Cat Bowl On A Stand.

It is possible to buy cat bowls that come with a stand. The stand has four thin legs that make it difficult for roaches and other pests to climb up the side of the bowl. Some cat dishes come with four small feet that provide the same effect. 

Cat Dish With A Lip.

There are cat dishes on the market with a rounded tip that prevents roaches from getting into the feed bowl. Some people have had success with these bowls, but others claim they don’t work. The success may depend on the size of the cockroaches invading your house. 

The bug-proof dishes may work for roaches, but they will not deter rats and mice. 

Store Excess Cat Food Safely.

Dry cat food should not be kept in the original packaging if you have a rodent or roach problem. Rodents are masters at chewing through paper, thin plastic, and foil. Roaches can crawl through small cracks in the folded-over bag and get into the food. They also use their powerful jaws to chew through packaging. The safest way to store dry cat food is in thick plastic, glass, melamine, or tin containers. This habit prevents rodents and roaches from reaching the cat food. 

Unopened tins of cat food can be left on the shelf. If you buy wet cat food in sachets, it is best to keep these in sturdy plastic, glass, or tin containers. Opened tins and sachets of wet cat food should be kept in the fridge. If your cat does not like eating cold cat food, it can always be warmed by adding a small amount of hot water or microwave for a few seconds.    

The important message is that if there is no food available to attract rodents and roaches, they will be less likely to sneak into your house. If they are already there, removing food sources will encourage them to leave for more rewarding pastures. 

 Substances That Discourage Rodents And Roaches.

There are rodent and roach deterrents that can make it unpleasant for these pests to be around your house and cat food bowl. 

  1. Cucumber is said to deter cockroaches as they hate the smell of it. Sprinkle some chopped cucumber around your cat food bowl. Cucumber is entirely harmless to cats.
  1. Essential oils have been used to deter cockroaches, rats, and mice. Peppermint oil is the most commonly used essential oil. Create a diluted solution by adding 4 or 5 drops of essential oil to a water-vinegar solution. (One part vinegar to two parts water.) Spray this mixture in areas where you have seen cockroaches. One study found that peppermint oil kills German and American cockroaches. Rodents try to avoid areas where peppermint has been sprayed. 

Other essential oils commonly used are lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, and tea tree oil. Essential oils need to be used carefully in a cat household. Cats are unable to metabolize these oils, and a toxic build-up occurs that causes liver failure. If you use these oils, use them in cracks and crevices where the cats do not go or cannot reach. 

  1. Surprisingly catnip is also a repellent for insects and rodents. It will have a dual purpose – getting rid of the bugs and pleasing the cats.    

Make Your Home Inhabitable For Rodents And Roaches.

Several alternative methods are frequently used to discourage rats, mice, and cockroaches from taking up residence in your home. These methods work because they take away the opportunity for the rats to meet their basic needs of water, food, shelter, and safety.

Fix Leaking Pipes.

Both rodents and roaches are attracted to the presence of water. Ensure that any pipes that may be leaking in the home or around the outside base of the house are repaired. These pests can use any form of moisture, including the smallest droplets. If you have a damp area in your home, try to eliminate this if possible. You can use dehumidifiers, large fans, and air conditioners to dry out the air in the house. There does not have to be vast quantities of water for cockroaches, rats, and mice to survive. It is best to dry out sinks and baths after use so that there are no water droplets left. 

Remove Debris From Around The Outside Of The Home.

Any kind of debris around the outside of the home will encourage rodents and roaches. This may include organic waste such as leaf piles, dying plants, or even your woodpile. Compost heaps can also provide a strong attraction, allowing rodents and roaches to enjoy the safety and food source that these piles provide. As organic material decomposes, it creates moist heat, which provides a snug nest for these pests. 

Any kind of trash, even a trash bin, should be kept as far from the house as possible. Trash bins should have lids that seal the container when they are closed. 

Seal Cracks And Crevices.

Cockroaches and rodents creep into the home through holes in ventilation ducts, cracks in the foundations, or gaps around pipes. Basically, any crack or crevice is an open door inviting the pests to enter. It is best to use molding foam or cement to seal up the house to make it difficult for rodents and roaches to enter the home. 

Remove Trees That Overhang Roofs.

Tree branches that overhang roofs supply pests and rodents, with a convenient bridge allowing them access to your roof and, therefore, your house. Removing the overhanging branches will help to prevent roof access for rats and mice. 

Store Food In Pest-Proof Containers. 

Just as you store your cat food in pest-proof containers so you should store all your food away from sharp teeth that can chew through shop packaging, it is also essential to clean plates, dishes, and pots immediately after use as any little scrape of food can be used as a food source by rats, mice, and cockroaches.  

Clean under Refrigerators and Stoves.

Food often falls under refrigerators and stoves without our knowledge. It is always a shock to pull out your refrigerator and see what has fallen underneath. Cleaning under these appliances ensures that these areas do not provide a food source for pests. 

Traps And Poisons For Rodents And Roaches.

A combination of rat traps and poisons can be used to eliminate rodents and roaches from your home. Care must be taken when using traps and chemicals as they are potentially harmful to the cats that live in the house. Traps can cause nasty injuries to inquisitive cat paws. The poisons are toxic to cats when ingested. They can kill the cat or cause the cat to become seriously ill and cost you a hefty veterinary bill. Many rodenticides cause secondary poisoning. If the cat chews or eats a rodent that has died or is dying from poisoning, the cat will be exposed to the toxin and can die as well. 

Call Professional Pest Removal.

If you are struggling with a rodent or roach infestation, it is best to call in professional pest removal companies. They will seal your home and remove the pests quickly and efficiently. You may need to put your cat into a cattery for a day or two for safety reasons, but the process will be far quicker than a DIY approach to getting rid of the pests. 

Conclusion

Cat food does attract rats, mice, and cockroaches. All these pests use a sense of smell to locate the food. Cat food contains a lot of protein that smells strongly, providing an attractive lure to these pests.  The best way to avoid them infesting the house is to remove any food sources that might attract them. This is true for cat food and human food. There are bug-proof cat dishes that can deter cockroaches, but these do not work with rodents. Feeding your cat two meals a day and cleaning the dishes afterward is the best option to limit the attraction of cat food for the pests. Feeding in this manner has benefits for the cats too. Try to make your home as uninhabitable to rodents and roaches as possible by removing any places where they can hide, live or drink water. Seal up possible entrance points. Finally, if you cannot rid your home of these pests, call in the experts.      

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