Dear Critter Corneer: I woke up this morning to an ant infestation in my home. The ants were all over my cat’s food, in the pantry, and were coming from a hole in the wall. How can I get rid of the ants in a safe way for my cat? 

Initially you can try using some sort of cleaner or a mix of dish washing liquid and water to clean up the current infestation. Once you’re able to clean your cat’s food bowl and the trail of ants, be sure to place all of the paper towels and garbage into a tightly sealed plastic bag and throw the bag into an outdoor garbage bin. Once you’ve managed to clean the area, check to see if your cat food is stored in air tight storage bins or tupperware. This helps decrease the ants finding cat food from the smell and deters the ants from getting into the food if it’s tightly closed. 

For continuing to rid your home of the ants, you can try a few different home remedies first at the entrance where the ants are coming in. Such remedies include drops of vinegar, lemon, garlic, pepper, cinnamon, peppermint etc, but be sure to use these in areas where your cat will not be interacting as some of these in large quantities can be harmful to animals. If the ants continue to come back you may need to try an anti-ant spray, again used when the cats are separated from the area. 

For your cat’s food bowl, there are a few techniques that may help deter the ants from getting into the bowl. You can try putting the bowl on a plate with water, causing the bowl to float and creating a moat which the ants won’t be able to cross. Around the plate, you can try using double sided tape, flour, baking soda, chalk, and salt which the ants won’t like and will limit them from getting into the bowl. Alternatively, you may want to consider feeding your cat and then removing their bowl once they are done instead of free feeding. Lastly, try calling a pest exterminator and ask about available pet safe options to get rid of ants. 

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