General Question

gailcalled's avatar

Who can help me with the issue of foxes and coyotes roaming in my woods now and finding MIlo an interesting nosh possibility?

Asked by gailcalled (54553points) April 20th, 2009

Yesterday around 5:00 PM, I heard some alarming cawing or barking noises that drew me to a window. Milo was strolling out of my woods followed by a fox (or small coyote). I shrieked from the open window and the predator ran. Milo seemed oblivious. The sound was I think that of a fox but the computer distorts things.

Should I keep him inside after 4 PM?

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15 Answers

crisw's avatar

Yes, you should keep the cat in.

Foxes will not harm cats- coyotes most certainly will! If the critter was much bigger than a cat, it wasn’t a fox. However, if it was a shrieking fox, it may well have been chasing the cat away from its den- the foxes have just had pups this time of year.

Coyotes are also denning right now, and cat is high on their list of favorite snacks. A coyote probably wouldn’t have been shrieking at a cat, it would be eating it!

In addition, keeping your cat in prevents your cat from eating sleeping songbirds, picking up diseases, getting in fights with other cats, getting run over, etc.

susanc's avatar

Not a bad idea to keep him in after dusk – especially since he seems a little naive. This is a good time for mama predators to jump well-fed animals. Babies to feed,
as crisw points out.

The other thing that works is a big confident dog.

gailcalled's avatar

Sorry I asked this query twice. I thought that the earlier one had vanished.

@susanc: A dog? A DOG? My life is rich and complicated enough. Don’t forget my ancient mother.

crisw's avatar

Maybe the mods can combine the two threads into one without losing answers?

gailcalled's avatar

@crisw: It was the really loud noises that alerted me in the first place. It sounded like four caws in a row, separated by several seconds.

And I have seen male red foxes hunting alone during the day at this time of year. Clearly they had cubs somewhere.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Owls can eat your cat too… If you live in an area with coyotes and foxes then I am assuming you have owls also. I’d keep him in for sure because coyotes and owls are night hunters.

tinyfaery's avatar

Ahh, the problems of having an indoor/outdoor cat. The best set-up I have ever seen is a screened in area outside where the cat can eat grass, smell flowers, maybe climb a small tree. The cat will have access to the outside, but also be safe, and it will keep the birds and small areas in your area from being a snack.

Access to the outdoors leaves Milo susceptible to all kinds of dangers. Do whatever you can to keep him safe.

gailcalled's avatar

Other than a brain transplant (for him), I am doing everything I can think of. Unfortunately I have 20 acres of delicious and forbidden fruit. Fencing would make things look like a concentration camp. My solution for now is to let him outside only well before dusk and when I can hang around.

Would a coyote travel alone during the day and would he make warning barks or grunts? Or just sneak up and pounce? I hear the pack howling at night and sometimes very late.

elijah's avatar

My mom’s cat was picked up by a hawk once. It grabbed her by the throat and as it flew back up it dropped the cat. I think the cat might have been too heavy. The cat had puncture wounds and the vet said he was surprised she lived. Unfortunately predators have to eat too. I think Milo would be sad if he couldn’t roam because that is denying his basic instincts. I don’t think a cat can be kept indoors once they have a taste of freedom. My cat is indoor/outdoor. Sometimes she stays out all night. I worry but it just feels so wrong to keep her in. She gets miserable. What’s the point of living if you can’t have fun?
I hope Milo stays safe. :)

tinyfaery's avatar

@Elijah Wrong. I took in a feral cat who has completely adapted to being an indoor cat.

Tippi Hedron has a wild cat reserve, where she lives, with her 7 domesticated kitties, and she built this cool, crazy area for her cats to roam about on acre of the property, all the while the cats remain completely safe and protected.

It’s also instinct for cats to hunt at dusk, so what about that instinct?

PupnTaco's avatar

We had a ferocious, hostile little kitten named Coupon many years ago. At the time, my oldest son was eight or nine and young daughter was two or three.

One night, we heard those awful sounds right out in front of the house – the cat shrieking, the coyotes howling… then silence.

My son heard it and was very upset. My wife was sitting on the bed with him, consoling him as be cried. Little daughter comes up with her blanket, thumb in her mouth, and starts patting him on the leg, saying “It’s OK. Coupon’s dead. It’s OK. Coupon got hit by a car-oaty. But it’s OK.”

elijah's avatar

@Tinyfaery What exactly is wrong? My opinion that a cat isn’t as happy being kept indoors once it enjoyed the outdoors? It’s an opinion, just like it’s your opinion your once feral cat is equally happy being indoors. I never said it was a fact. The only way it could be a fact is if we hooked cats up to a happy meter, which we don’t do.
Unlike Tippy (whoever that is) most of us don’t have an option of building an acre sized kitty play pen.
I also said I let my cat out at night, so I don’t understand your point about the hunting instinct.

crisw's avatar

“Would a coyote travel alone during the day and would he make warning barks or grunts?”

Yes, they will travel alone during the day, especially in areas where they aren’t persecuted. I frequently see them during daytime hours; even more often I hear the squirrels complaining about them even when I can’t see them!

If they want to eat something, they aren’t going to make noise and scare it off. They are silent when they hunt.

AstroChuck's avatar

Gail, there are way too many dangers outdoors for a house cat. Please consider permanent indoor status for puss.

tinyfaery's avatar

My point is cats WILL adapt to any enviornment, even if they spent years outside. Indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats, it’s a fact, not an opinion. We supress so many instincts that our cats have, so not letting a cat outside shouldn’t be an issue.

Tippie Hedron was in the Birds, and has created a sanctuary for retired Hollywood animals, as well as abused animals on a huge parcel of land in Antelope Valley, where there are plenty of natural predators. It doesn’t cost a lot of money for some screen and 2 by 4s.

Like my vet, I advocate keeping cats indoors. They will be healthier and live longer. If others choose to let their cats outside, so be it. I just like to inform these people about the dangers their cat faces, and let them knowthat kitty will be okay inside.

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