Do Coyotes Attack Cats?

As a cat owner residing in an area where coyotes are known to roam, you may have pondered the thought of whether your beloved feline is at risk of being attacked. Coyotes are skilled hunters and opportunistic predators, with a diet that includes small animals such as rabbits, squirrels, rodents, and even cats. It’s no wonder pet owners are left wondering: do coyotes attack cats?

This blog post aims to provide answers to this question by delving into the natural behavior of coyotes and their interactions with house cats. We’ll also discuss potential risks involved and share tips on how to safeguard your pets from coyote attacks. After all, our furry friends are more than just pets; they’re family members we cherish and want to protect.

So sit tight, relax, and read on till the end to learn everything you need to know about coyotes and their relationship with feline companionship. Whether you live near natural areas or suburban/rural areas where coyotes inhabit, it’s crucial to be informed about how to keep your pets safe from these wily creatures.

What Are Coyotes?

These small to medium-sized wild canines are fascinating creatures native to North and Central America. With their distinctive pointed ears, bushy tails, and grayish-brown fur, coyotes are highly adaptable animals that can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and deserts.

Coyotes are opportunistic predators and can eat almost anything they can find. They have been known to consume small mammals such as mice and rabbits, birds, reptiles, and even fruit. Coyotes are not picky eaters and will scavenge for food, including carrion whenever it is available.

Living in packs, coyotes have a strict hierarchy with the alpha male and female at the top. These social animals are highly organized and typically consist of a breeding pair and their offspring. Coyotes play an important role in maintaining healthy ecosystems by controlling populations of smaller prey animals.

However, these intelligent creatures have been known to cause problems for humans by raiding garbage cans, killing livestock, and even attacking pets like cats and dogs. A recent study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles found that coyote attacks on cats are becoming more common in urban areas. Coyotes have been found to consume cats as part of their diet with 20% in suburban areas and 13% in urban areas.

It’s important for pet owners to take precautions to protect their pets from harm if they live in an area with a high coyote population. Coyotes are most active during dawn and dusk when many cats tend to roam outdoors. Keeping your cat indoors during these times or supervising them if they are outside is necessary. Coyotes are also attracted to food sources such as garbage cans and pet food left outside. It’s important to keep these items secured and out of reach.

To reduce the risk of coyote attacks on cats, physical deterrents such as motion-activated lights or sprinkler systems, building a tall fence around your property, or using coyote rollers on top of fences can prevent coyotes from climbing over.

Do Coyotes Attack Cats?

These opportunistic predators will prey on any animal available to them, including small domestic pets.

Cats can be seen as potential prey for coyotes, especially those that roam unsupervised outdoors. These highly intelligent creatures have been observed stalking and hunting cats, particularly in areas where human development has encroached on their habitats, leading to increased encounters between humans and wildlife.

To keep your outdoor cat safe from coyote attacks, it is recommended that you keep them indoors at night when coyotes are most active and supervise their outdoor time during the day. Additionally, securing food sources and using physical deterrents can help prevent such attacks.

It’s important to note that not all coyotes will attack cats. Some cats may even be able to defend themselves against a coyote attack. However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take preventative measures to protect your pets from potential harm.

Risk Factors for Cat Attacks by Coyotes

As much as we love our feline friends, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks they face from coyote attacks. Coyotes are known for their opportunistic nature and will prey on small animals, including cats. However, understanding the risk factors can help pet owners take preventative measures to protect their furry companions.

Living in areas where coyotes are prevalent is one of the primary risk factors for cat attacks. Coyotes have adapted to urban and suburban environments and can now be found throughout much of North America. Therefore, it’s essential to take precautions such as keeping cats inside or in secure outdoor enclosures to minimize the chance of an attack.

Allowing cats to roam freely outside, especially during the night when coyotes are most active, also increases the likelihood of an attack. Cats that are alone and not in a group become more vulnerable to predation. Hence, it’s important to supervise their outdoor time during the day and keep them indoors at night when coyotes are most active.

The size and age of the cat also play a significant role in determining the risk of an attack. Smaller cats are particularly vulnerable to predation by coyotes, as are elderly or sick cats that may not be able to defend themselves. Female cats that are pregnant or nursing may also be more likely to be attacked because they are slower and less agile.

Lastly, pet waste and outdoor food sources can attract coyotes into residential areas, increasing the risk of an attack. Properly disposing of pet waste and avoiding leaving food outside for extended periods is crucial in reducing the chance of attracting coyotes.

How to Protect Your Cat from Coyote Attacks

Keep Your Cat Indoors

The best way to protect your cat from coyote attacks is to keep them indoors as much as possible, especially at night when coyotes are most active. This keeps your cat out of harm’s way and eliminates the risk of encountering a coyote altogether. However, if you do let your cat outside, make sure they are supervised and within a fenced-in yard or enclosed patio.

Remove Any Food Sources

Coyotes are scavengers and will be attracted to any potential food sources. To reduce the risk of attracting coyotes to your property, remove any outdoor pet food bowls, secure trash cans, and avoid leaving any food scraps or birdseed outside.

Install Motion-Activated Lights and Sprinklers

Coyotes are nocturnal animals and are less likely to approach an area that is well-lit. Consider installing motion-activated lights and sprinklers around your property to startle coyotes and discourage them from entering. The sudden burst of light or water can surprise a coyote and cause it to retreat.

Use Coyote Deterrent Sprays

Coyote deterrent sprays can be effective in deterring coyotes from entering your property. These sprays contain natural ingredients that mimic the scent of a predator, which can discourage coyotes from approaching. However, it is important to note that these sprays should not be used directly on your cat or any other pets.

Invest in a Coyote-Proof Outdoor Enclosure

If you live in an area with a high coyote population, investing in a sturdy outdoor cat enclosure can provide a safe space for your cat to enjoy the outdoors while remaining protected from coyote attacks. These enclosures are designed to keep your cat safe while still allowing it to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

Physical Deterrents to Reduce Risk of Coyote Attacks

By installing sturdy fences that are at least six feet tall and extend underground, you can prevent coyotes from digging underneath and entering your property. Adding rollers or angled fencing at the top can also make it more difficult for these wild predators to climb over.

Motion-activated sprinklers and lights are also excellent physical deterrents that startle and discourage coyotes from approaching your property. These methods can be especially effective when combined with loud noises such as air horns or barking dogs.

If you want to provide a safe outdoor play area for your cat, coyote-proof enclosures are an excellent option. These enclosures have sturdy materials such as wire mesh or wood, and a roof to keep your cat protected from wild animals while still allowing them to enjoy the great outdoors.

While physical deterrents can be a great way to reduce the risk of coyote attacks, they should not be the only method used to protect your pets. You should always supervise your cats when they are outside and keep them indoors during peak coyote activity times like dawn and dusk. Additionally, removing any potential food sources like unsecured garbage or pet food left outside can help reduce the presence of coyotes in your area.


In conclusion, the safety of our feline friends in areas where coyotes roam is a valid concern for pet owners. As opportunistic predators, coyotes will prey on small animals, including cats. However, there are measures you can take to safeguard your beloved pets.

Keeping your cat indoors or under supervision during peak coyote activity times, securing food sources and utilizing physical deterrents such as motion-activated lights, sprinklers, and coyote-proof enclosures can significantly reduce the risk of an attack. It’s important to note that not all coyotes will attack cats, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take preventative measures.

Understanding the risk factors involved in coyote attacks on cats is crucial in protecting your pets. Living in areas where coyotes are prevalent, allowing cats to roam unsupervised outside at night, having smaller or elderly cats that may not be able to defend themselves and leaving outdoor food sources can increase the likelihood of an attack.

As pet owners, we treasure our furry companions and strive to keep them safe from harm.