Keeping Cats Out of Your Trash Cans

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated July 26, 2008)

Not everyone has the luxury of a garage to store their trash until garbage pickup day. If you store your garbage outside, you run the risk of neighborhood cats digging into garbage bags and knocking lids off trash cans to get at food scraps. Even if you do store your trash cans in your garage, cats can still get at your trash cans the day of trash pickup. If you have trouble keeping cats out of your trash, follow these helpful tips to keep felines away and from making a mess of your landscape:

  • If you store your trash outside in trash cans, and if your trash cans have handles, drive stakes into the ground, run rope through the handles, and stake the trash can solidly to the ground.
  • If you throw out food scraps or food containers, remove traces of food smells by lightly spraying the inside of the bag and contents with bleach water, ammonia, or liquid soap.
  • Build a box for your trash cans by framing a house with wood plank, and then covering it with metal or plastic screening, or wire mesh small enough that cats and other animals cannot enter. Top the house with a hinged lid and a latch.
  • Consider investing in heavy duty garbage cans with tight-fitting lids, instead of relying solely on garbage bags. Use bungee cords to secure the lids to the cans, as well as to the sides of a building.
  • Wash your trash cans often. Keeping them clean and free of food odors may deter cats from trying to break in and forage through your trash.
  • If you have a great deal of food scraps to throw out, keep them in the freezer until garbage pickup day, instead of putting them into the trash can right away.
  • Use a concrete block as an anchor atop your trash can lids. Most cats will not be able to move the large block of concrete to open the trash can.

Although it may sound trite, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Take measures to ensure that cats and other animals cannot access your trash and garbage before it happens. Once cats find that your garbage provides a weekly smorgasbord, they will return for more. While it is not pleasant for the garbage man to get a whiff of ammonia or bleach while emptying your trash, those chemicals can be quite effective as a deterrent to animals. If you choose to use chemicals as prevention for cats digging through your trash, make sure that you simply use a small spray, and do not allow inches of the liquid to accumulate in the can or can liner.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...

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