How many domestic cats are killed by coyotes each year in the USA? We don’t have a number, is the answer, but interested parties such as bird conservationists use coyote attacks on cats to their advantage in strongly recommending that all cats are kept inside all the time for their protection. You’ll find some local statistics for pets killed by coyotes but the figures will be qualified by a statement that the true figure may be higher. If you can find good statistics please leave a comment.
Generally, there is a feeling that the number is higher than what people think. Cats are a popular prey for the coyote. An obvious problem is that pet dogs also kill cats and cats go missing. What happened? We don’t know. Was the cat killed by a coyote or a dog or is the cat still wandering around the neighborhood?
We do have statistics for dog and coyote attacks on people in the USA which provides a general comparison from which we can get a feel for what is happening in respect of coyote and dog attacks on outdoor domestic cats.
We are told that for 30 years preceding 2006 there were 160 coyote attacks on people. Kids are by far the most likely victim for obvious reasons. By comparison, in any one year, there are 300,000 dog attacks on people¹. The comparison demonstrates how dangerous the pet dog is compared to the coyote and indeed the puma (cougar). The domestic dog is far more dangerous that the cougar and, it seems the coyote.
Feral cats are extremely vulnerable to a coyote attack. Attacks on feral cats have probably increased a lot over recent years because (a) coyotes are becoming habituated to being around people. They are becoming urban. They are already urban in many areas and (b) there are more trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for feral cats where there are colonies, (c) there appears to be growing numbers of coyotes as they have expanded their range from central North America to all of America (d) the coyote is adaptable and willy and has taken over where the wolf once reigned until hunted to near extinction.
TNR entails feeding the cats all of which entices coyotes to the area where they can attack feral and stray cats at will. This is a major reason why people don’t like TNR programs and why people keep cats inside all the time.
Where HOA regulations and rules allow, cat owners should or could build a coyote-proof fence if they have a garden to allow their cat some safe outside stimulation. Coyotes are athletic so the fence has to be designed specifically to keep coyotes out. Alternatives to environmental enrichment are well designed catios.
The range or distribution of the coyote is across all of the United States.
So in answer to the question: How many cats are killed by coyotes, I’ll have to use some numbers from the American Bird Conservancy (biased?).
In large city environments such as Washington DC and Boston, 13-45% of the coyote diet is made up of cats. Other studies indicate that cats make up 13% and 42% of the coyote’s diet. These figures might not be accurate. Even so they are high and clearly a major health risk or hazard for the outdoor domestic cat, the stray and feral cat. This is a major reason why Americans keep their cats indoors far more often that the British and in other Northern European countries.
Cat cats survive a coyote attack? It depends in the circumstances and the cat. On a one-to-one confrontation it appears the cat has little chance of survival.
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