Long time follower who has major respect for your knowledge! I'm a big fan of local wildlife & really enjoy watching animals around my house. We have about 15 bird feeders in our backyard. I was wondering if it would be ok to put out food/water for opossums, raccoons etc? We have highly tolerant (indoor) cats if that factors in and I live in rural Wisconsin for reference (I heard Eastern US is high risk for disease). If so, would cat food work? Thanks!
Generally, no, you really don’t want to feed local mammals. They end up becoming pests and you’re still going to be altering their natural behavior and their diet - cat food is very different than what they’d be eating. Raccoons are also major pests, and once habituated to you become pushy and potentially dangerous. They also stop at nothing to break into places they know have food (like your house) and are impossible to get rid of without killing after they figure it out.
Feeding mammals also means you get animals you don’t intend - a high concentration of smaller mammals means you’ll attract larger predators, and bears also love the food you leave out. Just don’t do it.