Do foxes eat cats? you may be concerned about the safety of your feline friend, especially if you live in an area where foxes are common.
While foxes and cats can coexist peacefully, foxes are rumoured to be the cause of many injuries to cats.
There are many horror stories of foxes killing and eating cats or even attacking babies, foxes have been given a pretty bad reputation. But regardless of rumours, a fox killing a cat would be a very rare occurrence.
In this blog post, we will explore the question further, of whether foxes eat cats. We will cover topics such as what the diet and behavior of foxes is, the risks to outdoor cats, and how to protect your feline friend from foxes!
There are many horror stories of foxes killing and eating cats and even attacking babies, foxes have been given a pretty bad reputation. Lets have a look at some facts:
What Do Foxes Really Eat?
Have you ever wondered what foxes eat? Are they a threat to your beloved feline friend? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of foxes and their diets.
What’s on the Fox Menu?
Foxes are cunning predators, known for their sharp senses and hunting skills. Their diet consists mainly of small rodents like mice, rats, and voles. They also enjoy feasting on rabbits, squirrels, and birds. These are all similar prey to what our feline friends hunt.
Are Foxes and Cats Natural Enemies?
While foxes and cats are both predators, they usually avoid each other in the wild. They have overlapping diets, but there’s usually enough food to go around. In fact, it’s not uncommon for cats and foxes to coexist peacefully in the same area.
Urban Foxes and Their Diets
Foxes are opportunistic eaters, and they’ve adapted well to urban environments. They scavenge for food in trash cans, compost heaps, and gardens. But that’s not all – foxes are also known to eat berries and fruits, which can often be found on the ground or on bushes. So, if you see a fox nibbling on a piece of fruit, don’t be surprised!
The Nocturnal Lives of Foxes and Cats
Foxes and cats are both nocturnal creatures. They prowl around at night, searching for prey and marking their territory. While they may encounter each other from time to time, it’s rare for either species to attack the other. If your cat comes home with an injury, it’s more likely to have been caused by another cat or a domestic dog.
H2: Foxes – The Ultimate Opportunistic Hunters
Foxes are ultimate opportunistic hunters. They’re always on the lookout for an easy meal, whether it’s a small rodent scurrying across the ground or a tasty piece of fruit. While there are some stories of foxes attacking cats, these are rare occurrences. So, the next time you see a fox in your backyard, don’t worry too much about your cat’s safety.
What Would Make A Fox Attack A Cat?
Most of the scenarios that lead to fox on cat violence are usually down to:
- The fox is starving or has been injured in some way, because of this the fox may be more aggressive to protect itself or any possible food nearby.
- The fox may be sick, rabies exists in the wild around the world (apart from many island nations) this can cause foxes to attack.
- The fox is protecting cubs; from hamsters to bears mammals can be very protective over their young, as with people coming across bears unexpectedly and being chased off or killed, foxes will defend their cubs or den if a cat or any other animal perceived as a threat wanders too near.
Notice how the three causes above have nothing to do with actual intent to eat, attacks don’t really lead to a kill. Just like fox on fox or cat on cat aggression, the goal a lot of the time when there is a confrontation, is to scare off the opponent.
But there are technically situations where a cat can become prey,
Opportunity is the rule with any predator. Listed below are situations where a fox may predate on a cat:
- The cat is very old and obviously not able to defend itself. Opportunity, elderly cat out at night could be a target for a fox.
- Kittens, we mentioned size of prey previously so lone kittens will be easy pickings for a fox.
- The cat is sick or generally weaker because of physical disabilities like missing eyes or limbs.
- One of the most difficult ones to deal with is if your cat is either a ‘cat outdoors’ or a ‘indoors cat outside’ we will cover this next.
Indoors cats vs Outdoors cats:
Some cats are sadly a little unequipped for the outdoors. Predominantly indoors cats who have not really had many interactions with other cats, or any animals in general, may be more likely to be injured.
This may happen because they don’t know how to react, and a lot of house cats suffer with this. They will blind panic run to their home or assumed safe place leaving themselves open to attack or becoming cornered.
They may even attempt an all out attack on the attacker, or worse submit as a smaller/weaker cat would with a more powerful cat.
Where a predominantly outdoors cat will know how to react and may have done so many times before.
Is there hope for my cat?
Cats are hyper mobile compared to a fox, being able to scale walls and fences to escape or gain advantage in a stand off.
Many cats will use avoidance in most situations unless caught off guard so this instinct keeps your cat safe more than you may realise.
One important consideration regarding any attack is the weapons and tactics at each animals disposal.
A foxes main weapon is the mouth and the bite, but as any cat owner knows, the cats preferred weapon are its claws, although cats will bite if close enough, they are sharp little teefs.
Foxes like many canines do tackle their prey/opponents this can seem like an impossible to deflect attack on the cats part, due to the slight weight difference generally between cats of around 1 – 2 kg, But…
A fox needs to expose its face to a cat to make any kind of attack, that part obviously features some very sensitive areas like eyes and nose bringing all that close to a cats claws before being able to get at it. And as mentioned your cats wriggly, speedy, liquid movements gives them the best chance at escape.
Many cats are also packing a primordial pouch!! there’s an idea out there that this pouch protects the cats vital organs under the rib cage! due to cats tendency to use back claws in a disembowelling movement, this may have been developed for some extra protection.
Stories of cats being eaten by foxes are generally mistaken accounts of the fox scavenging.
Pets killed by cars or other means are discovered by foxes and either moved to a safe place for later by the fox or partially consumed in place, it’s not surprising if someone witnesses this to think the worst. As we mentioned at the beginning: any chance for an easy bite to eat, is a chance a fox will take.
Your cat is more likely to be injured or killed by cars or dogs than a fox.
What Can I Do To Protect My Cats from Foxes?
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If you know you have foxes in the area and they frequent near your home:
- If your cat is a kitten (until around 7 months old) at an age where mobility is reduced, missing an eye or limbs keep them indoors. You may consider a Catio to keep them safe when you can’t watch them in person.
- Do not do things that will encourage foxes to come to your cats territory. This includes feeding other animals like racoons or hedgehogs, if you still have to, use something the foxes cannot get in to.
- Also avoid generally leaving food waste outdoors in anything that cannot be fully closed and locked. For example if you’ve recently used a BBQ make sure it’s clean otherwise the smells may be too appetizing.
- Discourage neighbours who may be feeding foxes. Feeding foxes is considered generally a bad idea. It may give you some fame on social media as you share image and videos of these familiar yet wild animals eating from bowls, plates or even your hand. This will only cause foxes to head towards people for food. I’ve seen videos of people putting their hands out to an inconspicuously curious fox, where in conclusion the fox bites the hand and runs off confused why the human didn’t have food. Those sort of actions will only increase frequency of encounters and competition between foxes and cats.
- Recently deceased pets buried in the garden? Make sure they are deep and covered with something heavy over the ground, foxes will dig them up.
While foxes and cats can coexist peacefully, it’s not uncommon for foxes to prey on small animals, including cats. It’s important to note that the instances of foxes actually killing cats are relatively rare.
The risks of predation increase when a cat is old, sick, or too young to defend itself.
Moreover, indoor cats are generally less equipped to handle outdoor confrontations, but there are steps cat owners can take to keep their feline friends safe.
With proper precautions, such as keeping cats indoors at night, providing escape routes, and keeping a close eye on their health, cat owners can minimize the risk of their pets falling prey to foxes or other predators.
Ultimately, the key is to be informed and proactive in protecting our furry friends.
Last update on 2023-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API