Do foxes attack cats?

Very rarely, foxes do attack cats. Cats are far more likely to be in a fight with another cat or hurt in a road traffic accident. But, although foxes and cats normally coexist without bothering each other, there are occasions when foxes do attack cats.

It is perhaps more likely to occur during the breeding season which ends around June. This is when the mother protects her cubs.

It must depend upon the attitude, personality and size of the fox and on whether the cat is vulnerable perhaps through age, infirmity or even if the cat is blind or partially sighted. Foxes in some parts of the world are bolder and bigger than foxes in other places. The risk is heightened.

Foxes are opportunist predators and therefore would pick on a vulnerable cat but avoid a healthy large cat.

Foxes and cats in the urban environment coexist in the hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions. If foxes were a threat to cats it would be very apparent very quickly. But millions of cats go outside at night in the UK, crossing paths with foxes and nothing happens.

However, on occasions, something does happen. Although rare, there are reports of foxes chasing cats in the UK. It depends upon the foxes attitude as mentioned. There are reports of cats going missing with the possibility that the cat was killed and eaten by a fox. Also sometimes foxes will take away a cat that was killed on the road to their den.

In order to write this short article, I have done about 1 1/2 hours research on the Internet and I must refer to an excellent page on the subject written by a cat behaviourist who carried out some excellent research. This is her page.

My conclusions are based upon hers (Anita Kelsey) which they should be because her work is sound. She basically says that it is very rare but it can happen. There are lots of comments on her webpage and the general drift of the comments is that foxes do attack cats. The comments somewhat go against what she states. The people who made the comments argue that it may be less rare than the article’s author states. My opinion based on personal experience has changed slightly after my research.

Update: In the UK there appears to be an increase in the number of attacks on cats by foxes because of the way that we store food waste before collection. Foxes cannot get out the food so easily and therefore they are driven by hunger to attack pets.

I witnessed an encounter between my now deceased three-legged large male cat and a fox in the back garden of a block of flats. They were within a few feet of each other and my cat hissed at the fox while the fox just ignored him. It was a sort of grudging mutual acceptance with my cat more concerned than the fox. I was of the firm believe that foxes and wandering domestic cats just get along.

I now live in a house with a back garden and for the past four years I have raised a feral kitten to adulthood. We were incredibly close. I currently believe that he has been attacked by a fox and killed. I feel responsible. I feel as if I have failed him but he had to go outside. There was no way that I could keep him inside so he has lived his life the way he wanted to and in doing so we both took the risk.

I do not know for sure whether a fox has attacked him. But I feel in my gut that this has happened. There are many back alleys behind the houses where I live. These are rights-of-way for cars to go down but which are unused and therefore overgrown. They are perfect places for cats and foxes. A fox which I’ve seen regularly uses the right-of-way at the end of my garden. I sense that it is this fox, a large and confident fox, who has attacked my cat and killed him. I don’t feel he has gone AWOL. We were too close and he was too happy.

I don’t know and I’m still looking for my cat using all the usual methods to find him. If one is able to communicate telepathically with a lost cat as some people believe then I am left with the feeling of a void which I interpret to mean that he no longer lives in the real world but has gone over the rainbow bridge and it hurts me tremendously. There is a hole in my life. I must say my goodbyes and move on to protect myself. I will keep on searching.

Update June 18, 2022: a young fox came into my house this morning at about 7 AM. My cat confronted him/her. She got into a complete panic. She was terrified. She ran around the house defecating and peeing. I managed to usher her out of the house quite quickly and it took me longer to clean up the place! Clearly, my cat, who was smaller than this young fox, was far more aggressive and had the upper hand throughout. He wanted to attack the fox.

P.S. As you can guess I did the research to help me assess whether my cat has been killed by a fox.

P.P.S. Comments from trolls will not be published. I am being open and honest. My attitude should not be abused by sick and sad trolls.

3 thoughts on “Do foxes attack cats?”

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Michael. Whether or not it was due to a fox, the most important thing is that you lost a good friend. You have my deepest empathy.

    Reply
  2. If you compare the relatively small number of foxes in the UK, less than 300,000 , to the 7.8 million cats, then it is easy to understand that encounters between them are quite rare, and foxes killing cats even rarer. But foxes will kill cats. Foxes are predators and anything they can kill they will kill. There is no reason to believe they have any special aversion to killing cats and so leave them alone. I think one of my cats was killed by a fox in N Cyprus. His disappearance coincided with hearing the typical yelping sound of a fox which I only heard that one time. He could have vanished for any number of reasons but that coincidence seems very significant.

    Reply
    • I think that the concentration of foxes in the urban environment such as suburbia means that their relatively fewer numbers compared to cats is altered and the ratio between foxes and cats is much higher in certain areas. I would certainly say that that is the case where I live. Which of course adds to the risk.

      You make some good points, Harvey, and thank you for them.

      Reply

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