is cat food bad for raccoons

Is Cat Food Bad For Raccoons?

Written by: Josiah Shobayo
Last updated on:

Raccoons are notorious for being messy foragers, and dealing with them can be a headache. But if these animals make a habit of visiting your lawn and backyard daily, you’d probably be thinking of the best things to give them so they can feed neatly and leave. With that said, is cat food a bad feeding option for raccoons?

In this article, we will be looking at the benefits and risks associated with feeding cat food to raccoons, as well as the implications of feeding these creatures.

Is Cat Food Bad For Raccoons?

In the real sense of things, there is no definite answer to this question. Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores that eat whatever is at their disposal. This includes pet food like dry and wet cat food. So if you leave leftover cat food around, these animals will surely get a taste out of it.

But is cat food good for these creatures? Well, it depends. Raccoons rely on gutted animals and insects like grubs, birds, and amphibians for their nutrients. This is because fleshy foods, fruits, and even dead animals have all the nutritional requirements needed in raccoons. However, cat food is mostly rich in protein and taurine. These nutrients are digestible amino acids with heart and head benefits for cats. If fed to other animals in an uneven proportion, it may cause kidney problems in some cases. 

Yet at the same time, it can still be entirely harmless for raccoons. So, it may not be a bad feeding option, especially when it is fed mildly to them.

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Some Effects of Feeding Cat Food to Raccoons

While there is no scientific proof of raccoons’ benefiting or suffering from taurine intake, cat food is still not a recommended staple food for them because it does not match their natural feeding choices. Hence, among many other reasons, feeding raccoons foods outside their usual diets can cause these effects:

  • Storage of excess fat in the body may cause obesity and lead to more health concerns.
  • Complicated for them to be released into the wild. When spoiled with cat food instead of their natural meals, raccoons will become dependent on this food and will come back a lot to eat it.
  • They will develop illnesses caused by mineral and vitamin deficiency from adapting to cat food.
  • Constantly providing cat food for raccoons will make them threats to cats whenever they feed outside. 

Whether raccoons like cat food or not, eating an unbalanced diet can make them susceptible to illnesses and depend on humans. Experts at Critters Clean Out advise against constantly feeding wet and dry cat food to raccoons because of the negative implications it will have on the environment.

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Why You Shouldn’t Feed Raccoons Cat Food

Raccoons are opportunistic feeders and lazy scavengers. So, they prefer rummaging through dumpsters, gardens, and yards in search of food. Imagine what happens when they know someone there provides food for them. They come back! 

Here are reasons why you should not feed raccoons, especially ones you are not domesticating officially.

  • They will become dependent and stop foraging.
  • They can spread diseases to other cats and dogs in the area.
  • The more they are fed, the higher the chances of these critters breaking into your home.
  • They become vicious when you withdraw and stop feeding them.
  • As time goes on, they will feel free in the presence of humans and might grow rabid.
  • They may end up being euthanized if shunned and reported by concerned neighbors.

To this end, you must be careful when feeding raccoons cat food. Whether they are wild or tame, these creatures may be a public risk. But if you want to feed them, you can have them feast on the dead rodents in your house, or fruits and vegetables. As a prenote, however, feed them discreetly so they do not become dependent and clingy.

Final Thoughts

Cat food should be considered a treat and not a staple food for raccoons. These nocturnal animals will consume almost anything that seems and smells appealing. So, it is not out of the ordinary to find raccoons eating cat food. 

There is no health benefit attached to cat food for raccoons, so you can choose to use or skip this option and settle for other feeding choices. However, you should not get comfortable feeding these creatures due to environmental concerns.

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