Keeping the Ants Out of Your Pet's Food

About: It is my hope that each of my i'bles hits the "Why didn't I think of that?" button in the reader. Mic

This is one of those i'bles that I should have posted much sooner (when my cat was still alive). It only occurred to me as I was packing these away that I should share this simple idea that keeps the ants out of your pet food.

I know that some animals will eat everything put down all at once, but my cat used to come and go. During the rainy seasons he would often return to his food to find it inedible because it was covered in little black ants.

This was my simple solution to allow him to come and go while keeping the ants out of his good.

Please note that as the cat had made it to a ripe age of 18, and then succumbed to a snake bit, there is no food in these photos, only the empty bowls.

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Step 1: Start With Two Different Sized Bowls

The larger bowl will hold food or water, while the smaller bowl will be inverted underneath as a water-trap for those unwanted ants. These particular bowls usually have anti-slip rubber rings around their bases that have a very short life-span, hence their absence in these photos.

Step 2: Attach Rubber "feet" to the Underside of the Bowls

If the bowls are placed upright on the floor, these particular feet don't reach the floor. Their purpose is to "lock" the two bowls together so that the larger will not slide off the smaller. The layout of the feet is such that they interlock. This also allows easy cleaning of the two bowls.

Fill the inverted rim of the smaller bowl with water (again, no cat, no water). I'm sure your imagination can fill in this bit.

Step 3: Place the Food Bowl on Top

Make sure that you have correctly "interlocked" the rubber feet, and any sideways pressure on the food ball will slide the water trap as well. The food bowl now sits about 1/2" off the floor, so the ants have to  crawl in underneath, navigate the inverted bowl and discover the impassable water trap. Yes, I know there are some very clever ants that will use themselves to build bridges across the water but, despite all the venomous creatures we have to tolerate in Australia, those types of ants aren't included.

The two bowls are easily separated for cleaning, and it is simple enough every couple of days to lift the top bowl to make sure the water underneath has not evaporated.

In use, this was very successful and puddy tat no longer had to worry about being bitten by ants while attempting to eat his food. A second pair of bowls set up the same way also meant that his water dish remained ant free.

Step 4: A Memorial for a "geriatric" Cat

Right up to the end, he was a fit, healthy and playful cat. Vet's consider any cat over 10 years old to be "geriatric". Does he look aged and haggard to you?

He is sorely missed, and if the simple idea above helps other animal lovers protect their pets' food supplies then I shall consider that one of the best ways of preserving his memory..


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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I use the Antsers for some stray cats outside. Since I live in Florida the water would evaporate fast. If you use sweeteners like honey or corn syrup that would attract the ants and other bugs even more and need to be cleaned often because there would be so many ants/bugs coming and going to eat the sweets. I used Vaseline in place of water that evaporates, sweets that attracted more bugs and it isn't harmful to the animals, doesn't evaporate doesn't attract more bugs but does have to be cleaned every so often with only paper towels to get the accumulation of bugs out. hope it works for you too


    5 years ago on Introduction

    It might work better with honey or corn syrup than water, fire ants or not. Great idea.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    WONDERFUL idea!!!!! So simple, yet so effective!!!!

    And I'm so very sorry for your loss! <3


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea, simple and still looks nice. Thanks!! and sorry for your loss, he looks beautiful! definitely didn't look like a senior!


    5 years ago

    nice instructable and sorry about your cat


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very good idea, and Instructable. Here in Texas, we have all different kinds of ants, especially the HORRIBLE Fire Ants.
    Your Buddy looks good in the photo, and a bit mean in the eyes. I don't care for snakes myself, and wish your Bud had survived.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    By placing the larger bowl on top, it prevents dust build-up underneath, and it sits close enough to the floor so that most people in passing never even noticed that it was raised. In the case of fire ants, you may want to add extra feet to the what would be the "top" rim of the underbowl in order to increase the floor-to-bowl gap. What we call "sugar ants" are large enough to simply step up the current sized gap, although these rarely invade a house.

    Yes, his eyes look wild in that photo. He was in the crawl space next to the Hot Water Service, so the flash was looking UP into his eyes.

    As hard a decision as it is to let a pet go, I will ill myself and couldn't sit through it with him, although at 18, he may not have recovered.

    Your kind thoughts are appreciated and, like I said, if other people adopt this or a similar idea, it's his legacy to future pet-kind.