How Much Damage Can A Possum Do To A Cat?

Possums are fascinating creatures that are known for their love of nocturnal activities and feasting on small insects and fruits.

These marsupials are often considered harmless and non-threatening, but when it comes to cats, things can quickly take a dark turn. In suburban areas where possums hunt for food in garbage bins and backyards, it’s not uncommon for pet cats to cross paths with these critters.

While some cat owners might brush off the idea of their furry companion facing off against an opossum, it’s important to understand just how much damage these animals can inflict. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the potential risks and consequences that possums pose to your feline friend.

We’ll explore the physical capabilities of an opossum and how its sharp claws and teeth can turn a peaceful encounter into a violent one. Additionally, we’ll discuss the possible diseases that your cat could contract from a possum attack.

So hold on tight as we uncover the truth about the dangers that possums can pose to your beloved pet cat.

Misconceptions about Possums and Cats

Possums and cats are two common animals that share the same habitat. However, many pet owners have misconceptions about these creatures that can cause unnecessary worry. In this post, we’ll explore some of the common misconceptions about possums and cats.

Firstly, it’s important to dispel the myth that possums are aggressive animals that will attack cats without provocation. Possums are generally non-aggressive creatures that prefer to avoid confrontation whenever possible. Their sharp claws and teeth are not designed for hunting or attacking other animals, as they primarily use them for climbing trees and finding food. Therefore, the likelihood of a possum causing serious harm to a cat is relatively low.

However, there have been rare cases where possums have attacked cats. This usually happens when the possum feels cornered or threatened and sees no other option but to defend itself. In such instances, the cat may sustain minor injuries such as scratches or bites.

Another misconception is that possums are carriers of diseases that can be transmitted to cats. While it is true that possums can carry certain diseases, such as leptospirosis and tuberculosis, the likelihood of a cat contracting these diseases from a possum is very low. Cats are more likely to contract diseases from other cats or from fleas than they are from possums.

Furthermore, some people believe that possums can be destructive animals that will damage property and harm pets. While it’s true that possums can cause some damage to gardens and yards, they are not known for being particularly destructive animals. In fact, possums can actually be beneficial to homeowners by helping to control populations of insects and other pests.

Physical Damage Caused by Possums

Possums are equipped with sharp claws and teeth, which they use for self-defense and hunting. When possums encounter cats, they can cause a range of physical injuries, including scratches, bites, and bruises.

Scratches from possums are not to be underestimated. Their claws are sharp and curved, making them incredibly effective tools for climbing trees and defending themselves against predators. If a cat gets too close to a possum, it may try to scratch the cat with its sharp claws, leaving deep and painful wounds that require prompt medical attention. It’s essential to treat these injuries immediately to prevent infection.

Bites from possums are another cause for concern. Possums are known carriers of various diseases like leptospirosis and salmonella, which can be transmitted to cats through bites or scratches. These infections can cause severe illness in cats and can even lead to death if left untreated. It’s crucial to keep your cat up-to-date on their vaccinations and seek medical attention if they’ve had any contact with a possum.

In addition to scratches and bites, possums can also cause bruises and other physical injuries during fights. When cornered or threatened, possums can become quite aggressive and may attack cats without warning. These attacks can leave cats with severe injuries that require immediate medical attention.

To keep your cat safe from possums, it’s crucial to take precautions. Keeping your cat indoors or supervising them when outside can reduce the risk of encounters with possums. Be especially vigilant at night when possums are more active. If you do encounter a possum, try to give it space and avoid cornering it.

Possums Defending Themselves Against Cats

Possums are fascinating creatures that are often misunderstood. They are not aggressive animals, but they do have the ability to defend themselves against predators, including cats. When cornered or threatened, possums will use a variety of defensive tactics to protect themselves, and they have some unique ways of doing so.

One of the most common ways that possums defend themselves is by hissing, growling, and baring their teeth. This intimidating behavior is often enough to deter potential attackers and give the possum a chance to escape. However, if a cat were to attack a possum, it would not hesitate to use its sharp claws and teeth to defend itself.

Scratches from a possum’s claws can be extremely painful and may become infected if not treated promptly. Additionally, possums may bite in self-defense, which can result in puncture wounds and potentially transmit diseases to the cat. It’s important for cat owners to be aware of these risks and intervene if necessary to prevent harm from occurring.

In addition to their intimidating behavior and sharp claws and teeth, possums also have a unique defense mechanism that can cause harm to cats. Possums have a special gland near their anus that produces a foul-smelling liquid when they feel threatened. This liquid is not harmful, but it is extremely unpleasant and can deter potential attackers.

It’s important to remember that while possums can defend themselves, they typically only do so when provoked or threatened. In most cases, possums will try to avoid confrontation with other animals and will only resort to defensive tactics as a last resort.

As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to keep our cats safe and prevent them from harassing or attacking wildlife. This means keeping our cats indoors or on a leash when outside, especially at night when possums are most active. By being aware of the potential risks and taking necessary precautions, we can ensure that our pets remain healthy and happy while coexisting with local wildlife.

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Safe from Possums

These nocturnal creatures may not be aggressive towards cats, but they can still pose a danger to them. Here are five tips to keep your cat safe from possums:

Tip #1: Keep Your Cat Indoors at Night

Possums are most active during the night, which is also when your cat is most vulnerable. Keeping your cat indoors at night can protect them from potential encounters with possums and other animals.

Tip #2: Secure Your Garbage Cans

Possums are attracted to food sources, and unsecured garbage cans can be an easy target. Make sure your garbage cans are tightly closed and not easily accessible to possums.

Tip #3: Remove Other Food Sources

How Much Damage Can A Possum Do To A Cat-2

Cat food or water left outside overnight can also attract possums. Make sure to bring these items inside at night to minimize the risk of an encounter.

Tip #4: Keep Your Yard Well-Lit

Possums prefer dark areas, so a well-lit yard can make your property less appealing to them. Motion-activated lights can also help scare them away if they do enter your yard.

Tip #5: Block Off Any Potential Entry Points

Check for any holes or openings in your fence or other areas where possums could enter your yard. Blocking off these entry points can prevent possums from coming onto your property in the first place.

The Coexistence of Possums and Cats

Although possums may seem intimidating to cats, there are ways to prevent any unwanted interactions.

Firstly, it is essential to understand that possums are generally non-aggressive animals. They will only attack if they feel threatened or cornered. Therefore, it is vital to give them their space and avoid any confrontations.

However, cats may see possums as potential prey and try to chase or attack them, which could result in a defensive response from the possum. Possums have sharp claws and teeth that can cause injuries such as scratches or bites to cats. Additionally, possums may carry diseases like leptospirosis or toxoplasmosis that can be transmitted through bites or scratches.

To prevent conflicts between possums and cats, it is recommended to keep your cat indoors at night when possums are most active. This not only keeps your cat safe from possums but also protects them from other predators like coyotes. Furthermore, securing outdoor areas where your cat might encounter possums can help prevent any unwanted interactions.

In addition, keeping your cat up-to-date on their vaccinations is crucial. If they do sustain an injury from a possum, seek veterinary care immediately.

If you want to go the extra mile, providing separate feeding areas for cats and possums can reduce competition over food resources. This ensures that both creatures have access to the nutrition they need without fighting for it.

Signs of Injury to Look Out For

While possums may not be the first thing that comes to mind as a potential threat to your cat, these creatures can be quite aggressive and territorial when it comes to defending their food sources and nesting areas. It’s crucial to know the signs of injury to look out for in the event of a possum attack.

The most obvious signs of injury to look out for are scratches and bite marks on your cat’s skin. These can range in size depending on the severity of the attack, but they can be painful for your cat and may require medical attention. Keep an eye out for any swelling or redness around these areas as well.

Another sign of injury to look out for is limping or difficulty walking, which could indicate that your cat’s limbs or joints have been injured during the attack. Possums may also target a cat’s eyes or ears, causing swelling, discharge, or even blindness.

Behavioral changes can be a key indicator that your cat has been injured in an attack. If your once-friendly feline suddenly becomes more aggressive or fearful than usual, this could indicate pain or discomfort. Additionally, if your cat seems lethargic or unwilling to move around as much as usual, this could also be a sign of injury.

It’s important to remember that these signs of injury may not only be caused by possum attacks but could also be due to fights with other cats or injuries from outdoor activities. If you notice any of these signs in your cat, it’s crucial to take them to a veterinarian immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

To prevent possum attacks on your cat, there are several preventative measures you can take. Keeping your cat indoors at night and securing outdoor areas are both effective ways to prevent unwanted interactions. Providing separate feeding areas for both creatures is also crucial in avoiding any potential conflicts.

How to React if You Find a Possum in Your Yard or Neighborhood

Possums are fascinating creatures that are quite common in many neighborhoods and yards. They are generally not aggressive animals and prefer to avoid confrontation if possible. However, if you do find a possum in your yard or neighborhood, it’s important to react calmly and appropriately to ensure the safety of your pets and family. Here are five important steps to keep in mind:

Keep Your Distance

When you come across a possum, it’s best to keep your distance and observe the animal from a safe distance. Possums can carry diseases and parasites such as fleas, ticks, and roundworms, so avoiding physical contact is crucial. Additionally, possums have sharp claws and teeth that can cause injury if they feel threatened.

Keep Pets Away

If you have pets, such as cats or dogs, it’s important to keep them away from the possum as well. Possums may view these animals as threats and could attack them if they feel cornered or scared. It’s also important to keep pet food and water bowls inside or in a secure location so that they don’t attract possums and other wildlife.

Allow the Possum to Move On

If the possum is not causing any harm or damage, it’s best to simply leave it alone and allow it to move on its own. Possums are nocturnal animals and are most active at night, so they will likely leave your yard on their own once they feel safe to do so. If you need to encourage the possum to move on, try making loud noises or spraying water in its direction.

Prevent Future Encounters

To prevent possums from entering your yard or home, make sure all trash cans are secure and do not leave pet food outside overnight. Possums are attracted to food sources and can become a nuisance if they are able to access these items. Additionally, consider installing fencing or barriers around your property to keep possums out.

Call for Professional Help

If the possum is causing damage or posing a threat to you or your pets, it’s best to contact a professional wildlife control service for assistance. They can safely trap and relocate the possum without causing harm to the animal. It’s important to remember that possums are protected by law in many areas, so it’s illegal to harm or kill them without proper permits and licenses.


Possums and cats often cross paths in suburban areas, but their interactions can sometimes lead to physical harm for our feline friends. Despite being generally non-aggressive, possums have sharp claws and teeth that can cause scratches, bites, and bruises if they feel threatened or provoked. Moreover, possums may carry diseases like leptospirosis and salmonella that can be transmitted to cats through bites or scratches.

To ensure your cat’s safety around possums, it’s crucial to take preventative measures such as keeping your cat indoors at night when possums are most active, securing garbage cans and removing food sources outside, keeping your yard well-lit, and blocking off any potential entry points for possums. In case of a confrontation with a possum, give it space and avoid cornering it at all costs.

If you suspect that your cat has been injured by a possum attack, look out for signs such as scratches or bite marks on their skin, limping or difficulty walking, swelling or redness around injured areas, behavioral changes like aggression or fearfulness, lethargy or unwillingness to move around as usual. Do not hesitate to take them to a veterinarian immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

It’s important to approach any encounter with a possum calmly by observing the animal from a safe distance while keeping pets away from it. If the possum is not causing harm or damage, allow it to move on its own. To prevent future encounters with these fascinating creatures in your neighborhood or yard, secure trash cans and food sources outside and consider calling professional wildlife control services if necessary.

In conclusion, while possums are intriguing animals that share our living spaces with cats in many suburban areas across the world; we must be mindful of the potential risks they pose to our beloved pets.