Cat Owners Warned About Coyotes

Wildlife officials caution pet owners about the cat predator's increased hunting during springtime.

Posted: April 10, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

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Virginia state game officials are warning cat owners that their cats might be more at risk of being attacked by coyotes in the spring than any other time during the year because coyotes are hunting to feed their pups.

Coyote sightings are common in the spring, according to Dan Lovelace, a district wildlife biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The coyote is an opportunistic predator and feeds on small animals such as mice, rabbits, fox and cats. Domestic animals, especially small cats, might be at an increased risk during coyotes’ hunting season. The game department cautions against leaving cats outside unattended.

Also, because coyotes’ home territories may overlap, there might be more than one family group hunting in a specific area. Lovelace said that there is no way to gauge the number of the cat predators living in the area, but coyote populations have been increasing in the area for several years “and they are definitely here to stay.”

Residents can help keep coyotes away from their homes by removing outdoor food sources, such as pet food for domestic animals, according to the game department. Cat owners also should secure garbage-can lids to keep coyotes from overturning cans for an easy meal.

Game officials also recommend that people defend their homes when coyotes approach. They suggest that people “yell, throw non-edible objects in the direction of the coyote or otherwise let the animal know it is not welcome,” according to the department’s website.

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Reader Comments

denise    ste genevieve, MO

3/8/2014 8:04:15 PM

My parents cat was found dead and half eaten in shed. noticed 2toms around. could this be the cause.

dichele    hurricane, UT

9/16/2011 11:20:42 AM

I lost 3 cats in a 2 month period to coyotes this past spring, i now have cat guard up on my block wall so my cats can not get out of the yard but i am now wondering if i have to worry about owls or hawks, any advice?

Jason    Hummelstowm, PA

11/14/2010 5:31:23 PM

Donna, oh how completely wrong you are. Read the wikipedia article on cats. Cats have basic instincts for surviving in the wild, even domestic cats. Your household cat doesnt lose its instincts just because it resides indoors. I would say you do not care about your pet. You dont let it run free and enjoy the outdoors where it comes from naturally - you keep it penned up and sheltered inside. You need to educate yourself before telling others what they need educated on.

donna    montgomery, HI

4/15/2009 2:41:14 PM

Cat owners should keep their cat inside at all times. One does not love or care for their pet by letting their pet exposed to the outdoors. Coyotes are just another part of wildlife surviving. People need to be educated when owning a pet, as housecats are not wildlife proper

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