Do cats of the domestic kind chase foxes? Yes and no, but often yes and Larry the Cat at Number 10 Downing Street, the office of the UK’s Prime Minister, sets a good example of how a domestic cat can dominate a fox. We see in the video Larry dominating a skinny fox psychologically and as the fox retreats the dominance becomes physical as Larry chases at the fox which runs away.
It must depend on the character, health, age, size, gender, species of fox and skill set of both the cat and the fox. However, there is no doubt that not infrequently domestic cats chase away foxes as Larry does. But if Larry was in North America and had a face-off with the species of fox inhabiting that continent, Vulpes vulpes, I would doubt he’d behave in the same way. And the same goes for the fox as the North American species is the largest and can weigh as much as 14 kilograms (30 pounds). The average domestic cat weighs around 10 pounds.
The fox that we see in the video is skinny and probably underfed. He or she might be weakened as a consequence. They might not feel in the best of health. The decision was to retreat and wisely under these circumstances.
About three months ago at the end of the UK’s hot summer, the bifold doors of my home were open in the early hours of the morning. A young fox came into the home through the bifold doors. He did not know that my cat was inside the home. My cat is an avid and highly competent hunter. He attacked the fox. The fox screamed his head off as he ran around the ground floor of my home defecating everywhere he went. It was mayhem and I am sure that my neighbour thought that I was murdering my girlfriend 😎.
But it was just another example of how a cat can chase a fox and dominate a fox under certain circumstances. This was no competition because the fox was young and inexperienced and in a strange place whereas my cat can be very aggressive in defending his home range although he’s quite a small cat.
It’s probably fair to say that the default situation on an encounter between a fox and an adult cat is that both of them to do nothing. The fox may ignore the cat and the cat might hiss at the fox, but nothing really happens. There’s a sort of mutual respect because either one of them could inflict injuries on the other. The fight would be evenly balanced. Under these circumstances animals tend not to fight in the interests of their survival.
About a year ago I wrote about a German study which concluded that the domestic cat is dominant among foxes, raccoons and stone martens in Germany. And this is despite being smaller on average than the fox in Germany.
Wild species tend to avoid each other by time-sharing a location when they are sympatric with each other. The study found that they tend to avoid domestic cats supporting the view that domestic cats are in general dominant among the species.
But I stick by my original assessment that it does depend upon various factors which it must do. An elderly cat is not going to attack a fit young large male fox in my view.
You can read about the German study by clicking on this link if you wish.