Discover the surprising truth about raccoons and cat food!

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, raccoons can eat cat food.

In this article, we will explore the relationship between raccoons and cat food, including why they are attracted to it, the potential risks, and how to prevent raccoons from accessing your cat’s food.

Read on to learn more!

Why are Raccoons Attracted to Cat Food?

Raccoons have earned a reputation for being resourceful and opportunistic when it comes to finding food. One of the reasons why raccoons are attracted to cat food is due to its high protein content. Cats require a diet rich in protein, and many commercial cat foods are formulated to meet this nutritional need. Raccoons, being omnivorous animals, also benefit from a protein-rich diet. The high protein content in cat food makes it an appealing food source for raccoons looking to satisfy their dietary requirements.

High Protein Content

The high protein content in cat food is one of the main factors that attract raccoons. Raccoons need protein to maintain their energy levels and support their growth and development. Cat food often contains a higher percentage of protein compared to other types of food, making it a desirable choice for raccoons.

Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any available food sources. If they come across cat food, they will not hesitate to consume it, as it provides them with the necessary nutrients.

Strong Smell

In addition to the high protein content, the strong smell of cat food is another reason why raccoons are attracted to it. Raccoons have an excellent sense of smell, and they are drawn to food with strong odors. The potent aroma of cat food can be particularly enticing for raccoons, making it difficult for them to resist.

Furthermore, the strong smell of cat food can travel long distances, attracting raccoons from afar. This explains why raccoons may visit homes or areas where cat food is present, even if they don’t have a cat of their own.

Easy Availability

The easy availability of cat food is another factor that contributes to raccoons being attracted to it. Cat food is often left outside for cats to eat at their convenience. Unfortunately, this also means that it is accessible to other animals, including raccoons.

Raccoons are highly adaptable creatures and have become accustomed to urban environments. They have learned to take advantage of the food sources provided by humans, including cat food left out overnight. This easy availability of cat food makes it a convenient and reliable food source for raccoons.

Can Raccoons Eat Cat Food Safely?

Raccoons are known for their resourcefulness and ability to find food in various places, including pet food left outside. Many people wonder if it is safe for raccoons to consume cat food. While raccoons can eat cat food, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Nutritional Considerations

Cat food is specifically formulated to meet the dietary needs of cats, which differ from the nutritional requirements of raccoons. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet high in animal proteins and fats. On the other hand, raccoons are omnivores and have a more varied diet, including fruits, vegetables, insects, and small animals.

Raccoons can eat cat food occasionally as a treat, but it should not replace their natural diet. Feeding raccoons a steady diet of cat food can lead to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies.

Potential Risks

Feeding raccoons cat food can also have potential risks. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and may become dependent on a readily available food source, such as cat food left out overnight. This can lead to habituation, where raccoons lose their natural fear of humans and become more persistent in seeking out food.

Additionally, leaving cat food outside can attract other unwanted wildlife, such as skunks or opossums. These animals may compete with or even pose a threat to raccoons, leading to conflicts and potential spread of diseases.

It is important to remember that raccoons are wild animals and should not be encouraged to rely on human-provided food. If you encounter raccoons in your yard, it is best to secure any outdoor pet food and take steps to deter them from frequenting your property.

If you have concerns about raccoons or other wildlife in your area, it is recommended to contact your local wildlife authorities for guidance on appropriate wildlife management strategies.

Preventing Raccoons from Accessing Cat Food

It’s no secret that raccoons have a knack for getting into things they shouldn’t, and cat food is no exception. If you have outdoor cats or leave cat food outside for any reason, you may find yourself dealing with unwanted raccoon visitors. Not only can raccoons consume large amounts of cat food, but they can also create a mess and potentially spread diseases. To prevent raccoons from accessing cat food, consider implementing the following strategies:

Secure Storage

The first step in keeping raccoons away from cat food is to ensure it is stored securely. Raccoons are skilled climbers and can easily scale fences or trees to reach unsecured food sources. Store cat food in sturdy containers with tight-fitting lids that raccoons cannot easily open. Consider using metal containers or placing bungee cords around plastic containers to make them more secure. Additionally, storing cat food indoors or in a locked shed or garage can greatly reduce the chances of raccoons getting to it.

Feeding Time Management

Raccoons are primarily nocturnal creatures, so adjusting your cat’s feeding schedule can help deter them. Try feeding your cats during daylight hours and removing any uneaten food before nightfall. Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and are less likely to stick around if there is no food readily available. By establishing a consistent feeding routine, you can train your cats to eat their meals promptly, reducing the chances of attracting raccoons.

Alternative Feeding Stations

If you have a raccoon problem in your area, it may be beneficial to create alternative feeding stations specifically for raccoons. This can help redirect their attention away from your cat’s food. Place a designated area away from your cat’s feeding area where you can leave some food specifically for raccoons. This can be a simple platform or tray with raccoon-friendly food, such as fruits, vegetables, or nuts. By providing an alternative food source, you can encourage raccoons to stay away from your cat’s food.

Remember, raccoons are intelligent and resourceful creatures, so it may take some trial and error to find the best solution for keeping them away from cat food. If all else fails, consider consulting with a wildlife specialist or local animal control for further guidance.

Natural Raccoon Deterrents

Dealing with raccoons can be a challenge, especially when they start raiding your cat’s food. Fortunately, there are several natural deterrents you can use to keep these cunning critters at bay. In this article, we will explore three effective methods: motion-activated sprinklers, ultrasonic repellents, and fencing.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are a great way to deter raccoons from entering your property. These devices are equipped with motion sensors that detect when an animal is nearby. When triggered, the sprinkler releases a burst of water, startling the raccoon and encouraging it to leave. Not only are these sprinklers effective, but they are also environmentally friendly as they do not harm the raccoons.

Studies have shown that motion-activated sprinklers can significantly reduce raccoon activity in residential areas. According to a study conducted by the Wildlife Damage Management Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the use of motion-activated sprinklers resulted in a 70% decrease in raccoon activity in treated areas.

Ultrasonic Repellents

Ultrasonic repellents are another popular option for keeping raccoons away. These devices emit high-frequency sounds that are annoying to raccoons but cannot be heard by humans. The sound creates a discomforting environment for the raccoons, making them less likely to stick around.

When using ultrasonic repellents, it’s important to position them strategically to maximize their effectiveness. Place them near areas where raccoons are likely to frequent, such as garbage cans or the entrance to your garden. Additionally, it’s recommended to periodically change the frequency of the repellent to prevent raccoons from getting used to the sound.


Fencing is one of the most reliable ways to keep raccoons out of your property. A sturdy and well-constructed fence can effectively deter raccoons from accessing your cat’s food or any other areas you want to protect. Make sure the fence is at least 3 feet high and extends at least 6 inches below ground level to prevent raccoons from digging underneath it.

It’s important to note that raccoons are agile climbers, so it’s necessary to install a fence with a smooth surface to prevent them from easily scaling it. Adding an electric wire to the top of the fence can also provide an extra deterrent.

What to Do If You Encounter a Raccoon

If you find yourself face-to-face with a raccoon, it’s important to know how to handle the situation safely. Raccoons are wild animals and can be unpredictable, so it’s crucial to take the appropriate steps to ensure your safety and the well-being of the raccoon. Here are some guidelines to follow if you encounter a raccoon:

Keep Your Distance

The first thing you should do when you encounter a raccoon is to keep your distance. Raccoons are generally not aggressive towards humans, but they can become defensive if they feel threatened. It’s best to give the raccoon plenty of space and avoid any sudden movements that might startle it. If you’re observing the raccoon from a distance, be sure to do so from a safe location, such as inside your home or from a car.

Make Noise

If you want to encourage the raccoon to leave your property, making noise can be an effective method. Raccoons are nocturnal animals and prefer to avoid human contact, so loud noises can be a deterrent. Clapping your hands, banging pots and pans together, or using a whistle can help to scare off the raccoon. However, it’s important to remember that raccoons are intelligent creatures and may become accustomed to certain noises over time.

Contact Wildlife Professionals

If you have a raccoon problem that persists or if you feel uncomfortable handling the situation on your own, it’s best to contact wildlife professionals. These experts are trained to handle wildlife encounters and can safely and humanely remove raccoons from your property. They will also be able to provide advice on how to prevent future raccoon visits.

Remember, it’s important to never attempt to capture or handle a raccoon on your own, as they can carry diseases such as rabies. Instead, rely on the expertise of wildlife professionals to ensure the safety of both yourself and the raccoon.

For more information on raccoons and what to do if you encounter one, you can visit the website of the Humane Society at They provide valuable resources and guidelines on wildlife encounters, including raccoons.


In conclusion, raccoons are indeed attracted to cat food due to its high protein content, strong smell, and easy availability.

While raccoons can eat cat food, it may not be the healthiest option for them and can pose potential risks.

To prevent raccoons from accessing your cat’s food, it is essential to store it securely, manage feeding times, and consider alternative feeding stations.

If you encounter a raccoon, remember to keep your distance, make noise to deter them, and contact wildlife professionals if necessary.

By taking these precautions, you can ensure the safety of both your cat and the raccoons in your area.

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