If you're feeding squirrels, chances are you'll eventually start getting visits from stray cats -- some will just be curious, while others might have dinnertime in mind. To keep squirrels safe and cats away, you'll need to make some changes in the feeding arrangements.
Hang the squirrel feeder at the end of a thin tree branch. Squirrels can get almost anywhere and should be able to reach the feeder with no problems. Cats, however, might find the thin branch a bit "alarming" and decide against it.
Use a squirrel feeder that sits on top of a tall pole. Usually, these poles have small grooves that help squirrels hold on so they can climb easily. Cats, on the other hand, won't make it up the pole, no matter how hard they try. Just make sure there are no other surfaces -- such as trees or low walls -- that the cats can use to jump from and towards the feeder.
Surround the feeder with prickly plants such as shrub roses or common holly. Squirrels are agile little jumpers and will find a small space to climb through to get to the feeder -- especially if the feeder is hanging from a tree. Cats, on the other hand, would have to get to the feeder by climbing up from the ground -- which presents them with the problem of getting through the thorns.
Plant citronella near the feeder. Cats hate the smell of the plant, so they'll stay away. You can also add orange peels or mix lemon juice with water and spray the area around the feeder. All these produce an anti-cat smell that will have Kitty running the other way.
- If it's your own cat who's terrorizing the squirrels, keep him inside. You should not let your cat out anyway. The risk of injury, attacks by wild animals and contracting serious diseases is just too high.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.