Building a Raccoon-Proof Feral Cat Feeding Station
Feeding outdoor cats doesn’t mean you also have to feed raccoons, possums, skunks and other critters. Raccoons can climb very well and are able to jump in a straight line from one point to another. However, due to their weight distribution, it is almost impossible for them to jump straight up or at an angle like a cat can.
This link from Shadow Cats provides basic instruction to build a raccoon-proof elevated feeding station. The most important feature of an elevated feeding station is a stable base. Next is the length of aluminum flashing attached to the platform base. Modifications to these instructions to the flashing at the base of the platform are necessary to prevent access by determined and agile raccoons. The flashing or metal coil trim should be at least 14 - 20” long. This prevents a raccoon from climbing the support pole and reaching around the flashing to pull themselves up. Ten inch (10") flashing is NOT long enough!!!
Tips for Keeping Raccoons Out
Aluminum round duct pipe can be used to wrap around stair railing or downspouts that raccoons may use to climb. If they are still able to climb the pipe, coating it with white lithium grease works well.
Stacked concrete blocks, large rocks, stumps or other stable objects can be used for jumping purposes to help the cats get into the feeding station. Be sure the jumping off block is far enough away and low enough so that cats can jump up and in at an angle. A raccoon’s reach can be close to 3 feet when stretched out! Be sure the raccoons can’t reach up and across to hold onto the platform base and drag themselves up.
This simple platform can be used where protection is available from weather, such as a covered open porch or a garage. The platform height is 40” with 20 inch aluminum flashing. Click photo to enlarge.
This deluxe platform has a 24-inch metal coil trim attached to the platform base with sheet metal screws. Raccoons can’t climb up the slippery metal surface. Platform height is 41”. Plexiglass was used for the windows. This station was painted to blend with an exterior location; brown or dark green paint is suggested for a more camouflaged appearance. Click photo to enlarge.
Proof that Raccoons are Clever and Determined
Trail cam video showed how raccoons were entering a feeding station and the design was modified accordingly. On the feeder in the video, two pieces of 10” aluminum flashing are attached together using sheet metal screws. While the flashing is long enough at 20”, the lower piece of flashing was attached on the outside of the upper piece of flashing, giving the raccoon a place to hold onto. Once the lower flashing was removed and re-fastened to the insideof the upper flashing, and the raccoon could no longer access the platform.
The next video shows a raccoon jumping in a straight line from the jumping rock to the feeding platform. Once the rock was lowered, the cat could jump up, but the raccoon could not.
A raccoon was previously accessing the feeding station by using the stair rail and reaching across to the platform. The raccoon was also climbing up the downspout on the side of the house to gain access. In this video, you can see the 4” aluminum duct pipe placed around the railing and downspout now prevents the raccoon from accessing the feeding platform.
Finally, success. The raccoon is too far away to be able to reach across and up to the platform. Our furry friend will have to find someplace else for dinner tonight!