Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

June 17, 2012

Coyotes and Cats Don’t Mix

Filed under: Cats, Non Birds — richditch @ 2:41 pm
Lost Cat

Lost Cat

I see a lot of notices posted on the neighborhood mailbox cluster similar to this mock-up, from owners trying to find their missing pet. As a long-time “cat person” I understand their concern, but I can’t understand how they could have allowed their pet to roam around outside where it is a threat to birds and other local wildlife, and how it is itself at risk.

The risk to pets that are allowed outside was made clear this morning as I was headed out about 30  minutes after sunrise for some bird photography: just 50 yards from our house I came upon a scrawny coyote crossing the main street with a large healthy cat in its jaws. There’s a desert wash that runs through the closely packed subdivision that is a perfect corridor for coyotes, javelinas, and probably bobcats that are resident in the wilds of nearby South Mountain Park. We have seen the damage after javelinas have been digging around the plants by our house, and my wife has even collected some coyote scat in our walled off back yard (coyotes can jump and climb over these six foot walls).

This morning’s coyote was the first I’ve actually seen in the subdivision. As I got closer in my car the coyote dropped the cat to the pavement and scurried off into the wash while keeping a close eye on me. The cat was obviously dead already as I drove up to it, so at least I didn’t have to deal with trying to save it. I alerted a woman out walking her small dog about the nearby coyote and she quickly moved to the other side of the street. I was glad to see her dog was on a leash.

As I departed I could still see the coyote about 30 feet up the wash, so I wasn’t surprised to find the cat no longer present when I came home four hours later.



The coyotes and other wildlife were here first – we are the intruders into their world when we build our houses. The coyote was only doing what is natural for it. The cat is not a native species and is not a natural part of the local ecosystem. It really had no business being out. The cat is dead because the owners didn’t care enough about it to keep it indoors where it would have been safe from predators, and cars, and other hazards or our semi wild suburban neighborhood. If you really love your pet cat please keep it indoors.



  1. Advice that I wholeheartedly endorse!

    Comment by rondudley — June 17, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  2. Hi Rich,
    There is overwhelming justification for keeping cats inside for their own good and that of the environment. Major organizations, from National Audubon and the American Bird Conservancy, to PETA and the Humane Society, advocate and educate for it. The main force advocating against it is a neuter-and-release group called “Alley Cat Allies,” which claims that they are saving feral cats from euthanasia. I hope they read your post.

    Comment by Laurie — June 18, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  3. I also agree wholeheartedly with you Rich!

    Comment by Mia McPherson — June 19, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  4. Amazing photos you have !! Definitely a follower. We are plagued with coyotes too, so yes small animals are at a great danger. Last summer in the pasture behind our house a doe and her baby were there. The doe was frantically trying to keep a coyote away from her baby. My neighbor got his gun out and shot in the vacinity of the coyote. Of course it scared all 3 involved, but at least the coyote ran off for a while and gave the doe a chance to rest. I like to think that they were not in danger anymore, but I know it is not true.

    Comment by messyme — June 21, 2012 @ 9:57 am

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