A FRIEND HAS HEARD MY COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE COONS MAKING SUCH A MESS ON MY CARPORT and told me about her solution to the problem. Now, it is a rather expensive solution, but, who knows, one might be able to find a second hand swing somewhere…
How to feed the cats and not the raccoons?????
It was a bit expensive and a lot of trouble, but well worth the effort - we bought a swing, a 2 seater, and hung it from the ceiling of the carport. It is really too high for a person to get in without climbing on a crate, but the cats can jump onto it from a nearby shelf. Being a heavy wooden swing, it really doesn't move that much, and we set the food in a kitty litter tray with a water dish which stays clean because the coons can't climb up into the swing, jump over to the swing, or get to the chains hanging from the ceiling that hold the swing.
In order to stabilize the swing, we attached wires from the ceiling to the middle of the back, down under the seat, around the front board of the seat and back up to the ceiling. The swing moves a bit, but does not swing. Put the cats on the seat a couple of times when it is their dinner or breakfast time and let them know where the food is.
At breakfast time, the first few days, we built a set of "steps" with old crates next to the swing to make it easy for the cats to get up and down and get used to the idea. The coons don't come for breakfast, so the crates could stay up most of the day.
The swing is about 4 feet off the floor, an easy jump for a cat, not so for a coon. It is almost 3 feet from the shelf, again, simple for a cat, too far for the coon.
We also leave a BIG water dish on the ground for ALL the critters which we have to clean out everyday thanks to the coons using it as a bath tub! We also have a big concrete birdbath at ground level which the cats drink out of more so than the clean water on the swing. Go figure.
Well! That sounds like a do-able thing… all I need is a swing and someone to hang it for me, and we are in business! I was impressed with her watering story. It matches mine. The squirrels come several times a day now to the ground level birdbath. The possums drink from it every night – or from an old water bowl they seem to prefer. Funny how some animals have their preferences.
It has been so dry here, we are now keeping an old wash tub of water out every night for the deer to drink out of. Last night, we saw the local gray fox almost climb in it to drink just around dusk. I used to use one of the taller plastic garden tubs, but it is too high for the smaller critters. The deer used to empty the white birdbath at night, so I put the big tub next to it. The flower pots? Step stools for shorter beasties. We aim to please!
This is the first year I have ever noticed bees and wasps going to the bird bath to drink. Being allergic to yellow jackets, I take notice of these little guys, but I have never seen so many on the edge of the birdbath before. They prefer the ground level concrete one.
Pictures of watering holes is pretty boring, so I have spared you pix of them all. The cats have 2 stainless steel ones on the carport, and there is another couple tucked in around the shrubbery. This copper one is the favorite of the finches, but the baby robin likes the one on the ground.
Have I mentioned how much we need rain?