But I m feeding my feral cat?
Strays that come between 6p and 8p. I started feeding them cause they would watch through window at my cats being fed. I felt bad.
I used copper wire, which works greats, but having to clean the tarnish off every year was a hassle. Copper tape, 1/4 inch, on a 1x2 frame would work much better for feeding cats. Just put the food inside the frame. The tape is inexpensive, (check Amazon) so replacing it every year won't destroy your budget. The copper gives slugs and snails a zing when their slime comes in contact with it, it's unpleasant, so they avoid it.
Agricultural grade diatomaceous Earth, sprinkled at perimeter should slice open slug's body.
Bring cat food in at night. You risk attracting skunks and rodents, which won't make you any friends.
Put the cat food bowl inside another dish filled with water just a shallow one. keeps ants,slugs,cockroaches from eating it. I teach people TNR & to care for outside,strays,free roaming & feral cats. Please micro-chip and most of all get them their shots & SPAY & NEUTER them
I like your solution best. Water used as deterrent.
Put the cat food on a slight elevation, perhaps on a board held above the ground on some bricks. And bring the cat food in at night, as others said. Slugs can slither really high--I've seen trails several feet up the glass door.
The bowl in a bowl should work. It creates a moat around the food boat that most slugs and some insects won't cross. Also, you might try different bowls. We used a metal one and the slugs were all over it every day, but when we used ceramic, they were not. Thanks for feeding the strays.
I had the same problem but found a humane solution. I save empty pots to feed the ferals and found that certain ones fit perfectly under my cats feeding dishes creating a mushroom shape so the slugs cannot get to the cat food. I will post a photo if possible, may not work for everyone but works for me.