Do Red Foxes Eat Cats?

Are you a proud cat owner living in an area where red foxes are frequently spotted? Are you worried about the safety of your feline friend? If so, you’re not alone. Many pet owners share this concern and wonder if red foxes pose a threat to their beloved pets.

Red foxes are known for their adorable appearance and playful demeanor, but they are also opportunistic predators with a diverse diet. So, the question on many people’s minds is – do red foxes eat cats?

The answer is yes, but there’s more to the story than that. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the complex relationship between red foxes and cats. We’ll examine the factors that influence red foxes’ predatory behavior towards cats, provide tips on how to prevent such incidents from occurring, and offer advice on what to do if your cat encounters a red fox.

Whether you’re a devoted cat parent or simply curious about wildlife interactions, you won’t want to miss this informative discussion. So sit back, relax, and let’s explore the fascinating topic of whether or not red foxes eat cats.

What Do Red Foxes Eat?

Red foxes are known for their flexibility and ability to adapt to different environments. They’re opportunistic predators that will chow down on nearly anything they can get their paws on. While their diet varies depending on the season and availability of food, red foxes primarily feast on small mammals like rodents, rabbits, and birds. However, these crafty creatures also enjoy snacking on insects, fruits, and vegetables.

Red foxes are skilled hunters with an impressive set of senses. Their keen sense of smell, sight, and hearing help them locate their prey with ease. They hunt mainly at night and during the early morning hours when their prey is most active. Once they’ve spotted their next meal, they’ll pounce with lightning speed and agility.

In addition to hunting, red foxes have a knack for scavenging. They’ll often rummage through garbage cans and compost piles in search of scraps of food. They’re also known to steal meals from other predators like coyotes or birds of prey.

Now, onto the question everyone’s been wondering: do red foxes eat cats? Well, it’s rare, but not impossible. In urban areas where food sources may be scarce, red foxes may resort to preying on domestic cats. Fortunately, such incidents are relatively uncommon as cats are generally agile enough to climb trees or walls and escape predators.

If you’re a cat owner worried about your pet’s safety around red foxes, there are several precautions you can take. Keeping your cat indoors or supervising outdoor activities can help reduce the likelihood of encounters with predators like red foxes. Also, securing pet doors and ensuring that outdoor garbage cans are tightly sealed can help deter these animals from residential areas.

Can Red Foxes Prey on Cats?

While it is not common, reports of red foxes attacking and killing cats in both urban and rural areas have been reported.

Red foxes are opportunistic predators with a diverse diet that includes small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and even carrion. However, it’s important to note that the likelihood of a red fox preying on a cat increases if the cat is young, small in size or sickly. In addition, red foxes are highly adaptable animals that are known for their stealth and agility, making it possible for them to catch their prey by surprise.

Red foxes are also notorious climbers and can scale fences and trees to access areas where cats may be living. The fact that they are highly adaptable permits them to thrive in both urban and rural environments.

While red foxes may pose a threat to cats, it’s essential to know that they are not typically dangerous to humans. Most encounters between humans and red foxes end without incident. However, it’s always important to exercise caution around wildlife and never approach or attempt to feed them.

To reduce the risk of an encounter with a red fox, pet owners can take precautions such as keeping their cats indoors or supervising outdoor time. This not only helps protect pets from potential predators but also prevents them from getting into other types of trouble outside.

Factors that Increase the Risk of Red Foxes Preying on Cats

Red foxes are cunning predators that prey on a variety of small mammals, including cats. However, certain factors increase the risk of an attack. Here are some of the key factors that you should be aware of:

Location plays a significant role in the risk of red fox attacks. If your cat resides in areas where red foxes are common, such as suburban or rural areas with established populations, they are at higher risk. Red foxes tend to roam in search of prey, and if your cat’s home is in their territory, they may view your cat as a potential meal.

Another factor is the time of day when cats are outside. Red foxes are most active during dawn and dusk, so cats that are allowed outside during these times are more vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, cats that are left outside overnight are also at a higher risk of being attacked by red foxes.

The behavior of your cat can also increase the likelihood of an attack. If your cat is active and vocal outside, it may attract the attention of red foxes, making them more likely to be targeted. Older cats or those with health issues may also be more vulnerable to attacks.

Finally, the presence of food sources can also attract red foxes and increase the risk of an attack on cats. This includes bird feeders, compost piles, and garbage cans. Cats that are fed outside may also be more vulnerable to attacks as they become accustomed to being in a specific area at a particular time.

As a responsible cat owner, you can take steps to minimize the risk of your cat being attacked by red foxes. Keeping your cat indoors or supervised when outside during dawn and dusk can reduce their vulnerability to attacks. Removing food sources that attract red foxes from the area around your home can also reduce their chances of encountering these predators.

Scavenging Behavior in Red Foxes

Red foxes are fascinating creatures known for their scavenging behavior. These opportunistic predators thrive on a variety of food sources, including small rodents, birds, insects, fruits, and carrion. Carrion refers to the remains of dead animals that are left behind by other predators or natural causes.

Despite their diverse diet, red foxes do not actively hunt cats as their primary food source. While it’s true that they may occasionally prey on domestic animals such as chickens, rabbits, and cats in urban areas where human settlements and pet cats are more concentrated, these incidents are rare. Therefore, cat owners need not be overly concerned about the safety of their beloved pets.

That said, it’s important to take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of predation by red foxes or other predators. This includes keeping pet cats indoors or supervising them when outside. Additionally, securing garbage cans and compost bins can also help reduce the attraction of scavenging behavior in red foxes.

As responsible pet owners, we have a duty to ensure the safety of our pets from potential predators like red foxes. By taking simple yet effective measures such as keeping cats indoors or supervised when outside and securing garbage cans and compost bins, we can prevent incidents of predation.

Tips for Protecting Cats from Predation by Red Foxes

Fret not, for there are ways to safeguard your cat from becoming a victim of these opportunistic predators. Here are five tips that can help:

Keep Your Cat Inside

One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your cat from red foxes is to keep them indoors. This eliminates the risk of your cat encountering a fox altogether, ensuring their safety. An indoor-only lifestyle also keeps your cat safe from other potential dangers such as traffic accidents, infectious diseases, and fights with other animals.

Supervise Outdoor Time

If you choose to let your cat outside, make sure to supervise their outdoor time, especially during dawn and dusk when red foxes are most active. Keep an eye on your cat and be prepared to intervene if you see any signs of danger.

Install a Fence

Installing a fence around your property can be an effective way to protect your cat from red foxes. A sturdy fence that is at least six feet tall can keep red foxes out of your yard and away from your cat. Ensure the fence is buried at least six inches deep into the ground to prevent foxes from digging under it.

Use Predator Deterrents

There are several predator deterrents available that can help keep red foxes away from your property. These include motion-activated lights, sprinklers, and noise-makers that emit high-pitched sounds that are unpleasant for animals. You can also use chemical deterrents like fox urine or coyote urine around the perimeter of your yard.

Keep Food Sources Away

Red foxes are attracted to food sources like pet food bowls, bird feeders, and garbage cans. To avoid attracting foxes to your yard, keep all food sources inside and secure your garbage cans with tight-fitting lids.


In conclusion, the question of whether red foxes have a taste for cats is not a simple yes or no answer. Although it is uncommon for red foxes to target domestic cats as prey, there have been reported cases in both urban and rural areas. Red foxes are versatile predators with a varied diet that includes small mammals, birds, insects, fruits, and carrion. Their sharp senses and hunting skills make them formidable predators.

Several factors increase the likelihood of red fox attacks on cats such as location, time of day when cats are outside, cat behavior, and food sources available. As responsible pet owners, we can take measures to protect our cats from potential predators such as red foxes. These include keeping our feline friends indoors or under supervision during dawn and dusk hours when red foxes are most active. Installing fences around properties or using predator deterrents like motion-activated lights or noise-makers can also help keep your cat safe.

In summary, while it is important to be aware of the potential risks posed by red foxes to our furry companions, taking simple yet effective measures can minimize these risks significantly.