If you operate a food-related business, such as a restaurant or market, you may have encountered the problem of house cats gaining access to your garbage. Cats can cause numerous problems for business owners attempting to dispose of their trash. For example, cats pull waste from containers that creates foul-smelling and unsightly messes. Noise levels increase as cats fight or engage in other behaviors, and cat feces and urine only add to the disgusting, chaotic situation. That's why it is critical for food-related business owners to understand how to deal with waste disposal problems caused by house cats. Below are a few things you can do to keep these frustrating felines at bay:
Prevention is the first step
As with most problems, prevention is the most important step you can take to keep garbage-digging house cats from making life miserable for you. Below are a few things you can do to make sure that house cats stay away from your waste containers before commercial trash removal:
Establish a good relationship with your local animal control authorities - since animal shelters and related agencies are usually underfunded and overworked, you cannot expect them to be available on a moment's notice. However, it is important for you to cultivate a good working relationship so they are more apt to be there when needed. For example, be a generous donor to the non-profit associations that fund these efforts. Take time to show your appreciation for their hard work in reducing stray populations, and don't be overbearing or demanding of public agencies that provide animal control services. You will find them to be a good partner in time, and their willingness to actively patrol and remove stray cats from your premises will increase as a result of your goodwill.
Keep food wastes out of garbage containers to the greatest extent possible - while it is impossible to remove all food wastes from most food-service enterprises, there are steps you can take to greatly reduce the amount of waste going into the garbage. Specifically, use garbage grinding units that liquefy food wastes and send them safely into the municipal sewage system. If necessary, install a commercial-grade garbage disposal to increase the efficiency and speed at which you can eliminate these waste products. Another way to reduce wastes going into the garbage is by storing food wastes in freezers and dumping them on a specific day each week. This prevents food from rotting inside containers and minimizes the potential to attract cats.
Use the appropriate containers and package trash properly
Another way that you can prevent cats from accessing your food wastes is to use containers designed to be resistant to animal intrusion. Locking lids are available from vendors, and they can easily keep house cats out of containers. If you aren't able to use or purchase locking containers, then ordinary bungee cords can securely fasten lids. Even a simple cinder block on top of a lid can keep cats out of the garbage.
In addition, be sure that you don't use broken, cracked containers for food wastes; they are sure to release smells, and cats will be drawn to the odor. Seal up garbage inside plastic bags to provide extra odor-release protection inside containers if the ones you use aren't airtight.
Implement deterrent measures
Cats are persistent animals, and you may have difficulty keeping them away regardless of other measures. As such, here are a few specific deterrents you can implement that may help make your garbage a less-hospitable location:
Spray your trash containers with animal deterrent chemicals - there are non-toxic animal deterrent chemicals that are effective at keeping house cats away. They are sold under a variety of brand names, and a local pet store can provide you with good advice regarding which ones work the best. Keep in mind that not all deterrent sprays work for all individual animals, so you may need to purchase more than one brand to apply.
Use lighting to your advantage - since cats are often most active after dark, it can be helpful to keep your garbage storage areas well-illuminated. Cats will feel less comfortable "lurking" in a brightly-lit area. This will also offer an added benefit of reducing other pest animals and provide additional security for your property, too.
Install electrical shock deterrent technology - another option for business owners is to install an electrical shock deterrent system. It is simple, low-cost and safe, and it can be installed by most individuals familiar with basic hand tools. The system consists of a bare conductive wire placed in strategic locations around the waste containers; the wire is then attached to an electrical transformer which emits a painful, but harmless, electric shock to cats that touch it. The shock serves as a powerful reminder to "zapped" cats to steer clear of your garbage in the future.