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Cat Proof Food Container – How Can I Do This?

If your cat keeps messing with your food containers you may be looking for some ways to stop this and understand why it’s even happening…

Why do cats play with food containers?

Sometimes it’s just for fun, as when the containers are not completely full then they make a pleasant sound when your kitty pushes them around. At other times, your cat might be testing the integrity of the container in hopes of gaining access to the food inside.

Cats also bat at food in an attempt to try and hide it, but the most likely reason is the ‘container test’. Your kitty is just feeling puckish and wants to gain access to that large cache of food.

What is a food container?

A person holding a food container with food inside.

A person holding a food container with food inside.

When we mention food containers, more specifically we are referring to airtight plastic containers, large or small, where you store away the food for future feedings. Sometimes these are not as airtight as we might hope or your cat simply gets a good glimpse of what is inside, and after that, they just won’t leave it alone.

While it should withstand their assault for a while, don’t underestimate your wily kitty. With enough time, they might well get the container open, so you will want to relocate it at the very least and consider a more proactive strategy if your kitty still seems intent on getting inside it anyway.

What can a cat do to a food container?

It depends on the container, but if the cat is large enough and manages to ‘hook a corner’ with a claw or some focused chewing, there is a small, but possible chance that they can get inside the container.

Usually, if the container is small and sitting on a countertop, then it might get knocked off, and once it hits the floor then your cat might bat at it or pin it and start chewing. It depends on the cat and whether or not they intend to play with it or try to open it.

Thankfully, in a lot of cases, it might just ‘smell yummy’ and be considered simply ‘something amusing to play with, but this isn’t always the case. Regardless of the reasons, though, you don’t want your cat messing with the food storage so it should be moved where they cannot access it at all.

The worst-case scenario, aside from the breach of the food container, is your cat’s ingestion of container bits, which may end up showing in their stool. If you see this, then it’s time to strategize a solution so that your cat stops ingesting potentially toxic materials as they try to get the food.

How do you cat proof a food container?

Cat-proofing a container may be done in several different ways. To that effect, we’ve collected a few examples that you can use to help keep your kitty out of the food container so that the problem doesn’t get out of hand when your kitty can’t seem to help itself. Let’s take a look at what you can do!

Hide the containers in a lockable cupboard

If your cat can’t even get to the container, then they certainly can’t play with it or breach it. Putting the container inside a lockable cupboard is a simple and effective solution and if you don’t have a lockable cupboard, then this is easy to remedy.

Go to your local department store or visit your favorite online retailer and look for babyproofing gear. There are simple plastic ‘bridges’ that you can purchase that keep cabinets from being opened and as they usually require the push of a button to release, along with an accompanying pull, your cat shouldn’t be able to open them.

Cover the containers in aluminum foil (They hate it)

Cats hate the feel of aluminum foil, including the texture that they experience if they make the mistake of trying to bite it. You can take advantage of this by pulling off a length of aluminum foil that you can wrap around the lid of the container so that the seams are concealed beneath the foil.

This should keep your kitty out and will also help to contain the food scent if the container is not as airtight as it is advertised to be.

Keep the room door, where the containers are, closed

A brown wooden door locked with a metal chain.

A brown wooden door locked with a metal chain.

Storing the food in the laundry room or another out-of-the-way room that you can close is another easy and sensible way to keep your kitty out. After all, they can’t just open the door to get to it, so your cunning cat should be stymied with this strategy and it just requires moving the food to somewhere safe.

Use a container with an air-tight clip

A lot of time the temptation is simply the scents of the food wafting out, telling your cat that there are tasty snacks inside. With an air-tight clip, you can reduce the temptation, although you should probably move the food as well so that you give your cat a little time to forget about it.

Place the container out of reach (High up)

While cats are basically little acrobats, you can still have some luck simply placing the container somewhere high. This makes any food scents harder to catch and if the cat can’t get to the container, then the problem is solved.

Just make sure that the new location doesn’t look tempting enough, or they will try anyway and could harm themselves in the attempt!

Why do cats play with kitchen utensils?

Utensils make excellent makeshift kitty toys, due to their odd shapes and the pleasant sounds that they make when they fall from a counter or get batted around. With plastic utensils, your cat may even chew them and end up with plastic in their bellies – definitely not something that you want.

Cats also know that using utensils as their play toys immediately gets our attention, and the wily felines will take advantage of this.

As such, it’s best to clean and dry your utensils immediately after use and put them safely away, before your cat gets any funny ideas.

Can you put cat food in a plastic container?

While a lot of people do, you actually shouldn’t put cat food into plastic containers unless the food is still in the original bag. The reason for this is that most plastics contain chemicals called phthalates, which can leach into food if there is not a protective barrier to prevent this.

You can still use the plastic, but the food itself should still be in the bag. Alternatively, glass jars or other glass containers can work, or you could use Ziploc plastic bags to store the cat’s food.

Lindsey Browlingdon