Natural Pest Control – Cat Food Moat

July 16th, 2008

Call me a sentimental vegan if you like, but I can’t bear to hurt nature’s miraculous little robots – the ants. Even before I ever considered going vegetarian, I flicked one off a wooden foot bridge and into the creek below. The guilt of that moment haunted me for quite some time. Maybe it even still does a little.

cat food moatAbout a week ago, ants discovered my cat food bowls. For several days in a row, I’d wake up in the morning to find ants swarming the uneaten food leftover from the cats’ dinner the previous evening. Maybe it’s the summer heat, but the cats have taken to slowly eating their food in a few phases, rather than wolfing it all down at once, thereby preventing me from cleaning their bowls thoroughly before I go to bed.

But no matter, I discovered a solution. The cat food moat! Simply find a tupperwear bowl or other shallow container that is slightly bigger than the food bowl, fill it with an inch or less of water, and center the food bowl in the middle. Make sure the food bowl is at least a half-inch away from all sides of the tupperware or the ants may still be able to make their way across without going near the water.

My kitchen is now completely ant-free! No harm came to any ants and I didn’t need to poison my home with chemicals.

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12 Responses to “Natural Pest Control – Cat Food Moat”

  1. Aunt Kathie Says:

    You are wonderful and this is a good idea. I don’t have aunts (or ants), thank goodness and so far this year the horrible little files that bloom around the girls food haven’t shown up. Any suggestions for a merciful way to keep them away?

    I Love You,
    Aunt Kathie

  2. susan Says:

    Good for you!

  3. almost vegetarian Says:

    That’s a great idea. I once had a small ant problem and did something along those lines and it worked wonderfully well. I will warn you (alas!) that my small ant problem grew into a big ant problem and the moat stopped working. So, be prepared in case it happens to you, too (although I hope it does not).


  4. vegangirl Says:

    Thanks for the warning, Almost Vegetarian. I haven’t had that problem yet but I have run into a different issue. My little dog likes to eat the cats’ leftovers. He isn’t quite the dainty eaters that my cats are. When he eats, he moves the bowl around within the container of water. Oftentimes he pushes it against the wall of the water container and so the ants can walk right in. I have learned to check the bowls at a certain time to avoid problems but sometimes I forget and it’s really gross.

    I have partially solved this problem by putting some small flat rocks in the water so that he can only push the bowl so far – the rocks act as a buffer. They need to be wide enough that they keep the bowls from touching and flat enough that the water still covers them.

  5. MariaRose Says:

    I have had the same problem and here are two more ideas:
    1. Chili powder spread across their entryway into your home. Find their point of entry and just sprinkle chili powder there, for some reason ants will not cross it.
    2. This is weird, but it works. Find the point of entry and wipe some of your saliva around it, they don’t cross it…but you do have to repeat it regularly until they give up.

  6. vegangirl Says:

    Love your suggestions, MariaRose! I may have to try those. The cat food moat works reasonably well, but it’s sort of a hassle. Especially when my cats turn them into “cat food soup” as I heard someone describe it once.

  7. Kim Says:

    Hi D,

    Love the ideas found here…I’m looking for a flea solution! We get them every year! (Three dogs, three cats…it’s bound to happen.) One of our dogs is allergic to fleas, so even one bit and she begins to lose hair. Poor thing…she looks like she’s going through chemo right now! We’ve done all of the awful caustic, poisonous stuff…unfortunately, it isn’t working. We’ve “bombed” the house, dipped the animals, put the stuff between their shoulder blades…it works for a few days but that’s it. Poor Roxie is going to end up completely bald if we don’t find a solution! Any ideas?

  8. vegangirl Says:

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for writing! Sounds like quite a problem you’ve got. I am blessed with 2 cats who naturally tend not to get many fleas. My dog, on the other hand, gets them as bad as any other dog I suppose. For me, I can use that frontline/topspot between the shoulders drop stuff with pretty good success. If I treat just the dog, the cats and the house benefit from it.

    The one thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes it works on the first try (it takes a couple of days) but sometimes if the fleas are really bad, I have to treat him again a week or 2 later. I wouldn’t do that every month, but it might be worth it to try it once to see if it gets the situation under control. I have never found anything to work as well as the frontline/top spot.

    A few things to keep in mind:
    – I’ve found that the outdoors/neighbors are as much of a factor as anything else. If you’ve got neighbors with lots of flea-infested animals, your problem will be worse. Not sure what the solution is in that case, but it’s handy to be aware of.
    – Don’t give your dog a bath within a few days before or after treating him with the flea medication. It requires the oil to spread around and won’t work if the dog has recently been bathed.
    – Since fleas tend to diminish during winter, try clearing up the problem (in the house and on the animals) when nature is on your side. Treat for 2 months in a row to make sure you’ve killed off fleas during the whole life cycle. Maybe if you can nip it in the bud during winter, it will be easier to deal with it next spring and summer.
    – My animals fleas diminish when they eat healthy food. I feed them the top quality brands of non-factory farmed food. You probably do too. If you can afford it, I would try some of that raw pet food. I haven’t tried it but I’ve heard amazing things. And I know that when I eat all raw myself, the mosquitoes leave me alone even when those around me are getting eaten alive. You could at least try mixing some in with his regular food.

    I hope something in here is helpful!

  9. pest control las Vegas Says:

    Thanks for nice post !
    Don’t you hate it when there’s a trail of ants marching across your kitchen counter tops? Or when you find ants nibbling on crumbs in the cupboard or along the baseboards?

  10. idaho pest control Says:

    Pest control is about controlling infestations of rats, lice, carpet beetles, mice, and some types and species of birds such as pigeons.

  11. Pest Control In Restaurants | Pest Control Austin Says:

    […] Commercial and Residential Pest Control  These creatures can also be considered pest if they c… Examples for farm pests include rats, seed-eating birds (e.g. crows), and ducks. Meanwhile examples for pests contributing to deterioration include termites and still, rats. […]

  12. Vulcan Termite Says:

    One of the many natural way of protecting your home from pests. You don’t have to use chemical pest control when you can find a natural way.

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