Skip to main content

Avoid the unthinkable: How to keep coyotes away from your beloved cat

If your cat spends time outdoors, then coyotes may be a concern. Depending on your location, coyotes can be a major threat to your cat’s safety. If you’re deciding whether you should let your cat go outdoors, then it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the coyote presence in your community (but don’t forget that outdoor cats face other dangers, like cars, dogs, and even poisons). It can be difficult to fully protect your cat from coyotes, but there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of an attack. Make sure that you understand how to keep coyotes away from cats before you decide to let your cat outdoors.

Can cats get away from coyotes?

According to the Christian Science Monitor, cats can easily become prey for coyotes. While coyotes often eat rabbits, birds, mice, and even lizards, many won’t hesitate to make a cat their next meal. A study of the coyotes living in Tucson, Arizona, found that cats made up a surprising 42% of the coyotes’ diets. The study also found that cats were killed in more than half of the confrontations that occurred between coyotes and cats.

Nite Guard explains that once a coyote has caught a cat, the cat stands little chance of escaping. Coyotes can run up to 40 miles per hour, and cats can’t outrun them.

Coyote lying down in front of a rock pile
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Can a cat hurt a coyote?

Cats don’t have many defenses when it comes to fending off a coyote. According to Nite Guard, since pet cats are usually tame, they’re easy prey for coyotes.

Black and white cat stretching in a catio
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How do I protect outdoor cats from coyotes?

According to Nite Guard, there are several ways to protect your cat from coyotes. Many of those strategies focus on making your yard less appealing to coyotes, but keep in mind this will only be effective if your cat stays in your yard.

Secure your yard

  • To start, don’t leave cat food outside. If you do feed your cat outdoors, pick up any leftovers right away. Store garbage in secured structures, like a shed, and avoid having other sources of food, like birdfeeders, on your property.
  • Use fencing. Depending on your yard, you might be able to fence the yard in to keep coyotes out. You’ll need a fence that’s at least six feet high, and you’ll also need to make sure that there are no areas where your cat could escape.
  • You might consider installing cat posts, which would give your cat a place to climb and escape a coyote if he were to be attacked. While cats can climb them, coyotes can’t. The post needs to be at least 10 feet above the ground. Remember, coyotes are fast, so a cat post may or may not be helpful during an attack. It will depend on if the cat is fast enough to reach the post before the coyote can catch him.
  • Coyote repellent lights may also help to discourage coyotes from coming onto your property. Automated LED lights may look like predators to coyotes, making your yard seem like a threatening place to avoid. You can also chase coyotes off by making loud noises, which may discourage them from returning to your yard.

Keep your cat indoors

The Humane Society of the United States notes that the only way to truly ensure your cat is safe is to keep him indoors. Remember that coyotes aren’t the only threat; your cat could also be harmed or killed by a car, poison, and even cruel people. While these coyote prevention strategies might reduce the risk of your cat being attacked, they can’t eliminate that possibility. Keeping your cat indoors can help him live a healthier and longer life. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that your cat is safe from all predators, not just coyotes.

If you’re on the fence about whether to keep your cat indoors, realize that there are many ways to give your indoor-only cat an engaging and happy life. You can provide your cat with toys, cozy spots to sleep, and plenty of cat trees to satisfy his natural need to climb and scratch. Playing with your cat daily helps to satisfy his hunting instincts and prevent boredom. Plus, with a catio, you can give your cat a taste of the outdoors safely while ensuring he’s protected from predator attacks. You can even teach your cat to walk on a harness and leash so that you’re right there with him and are able to supervise his outdoor time and keep him safe.

Coyotes are a very real threat to cats, and depending on where you live, your cat might be at a high risk of being attacked. It’s important to weigh the risks that you’ll be taking on if you let your cat outdoors and to take proper precautions to keep your furry friend safe.

Editors' Recommendations

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
Why do cats lick each other? It’s not always a bathing ritual
When your cat's licking becomes a problem
Cat licks his paw on the bed

One thing every pet owner encounters is dogs or cats that licks themselves. It's estimated that kitties, in particular, might spend up to 50% of their day cleaning themselves. Imagine if you took a shower for 12 hours per day. Still, part of the reason animals groom excessively is that they only focus on one area at a time and also they find the process soothing and relaxing. It's more like going to the spa for them than simply going through your morning routine.

When you have more than one cat, they might take turns grooming each other. Of course, bathing could well be part of this, but there are other reasons your cats like to lick each other. Why do cats lick each other? We'll walk through the various reasons.

Read more
Cat panting: 5 reasons behind this behavior and what you should do about it
Cats pant for all sorts of reasons some of which require medical attention
Close up of a cat sticking out her tongue

Just about any cute dog account on social includes plenty of panting pics. But cat influencers? Not so much. That might cause you to panic a little any time your lovable feline sticks out their tongue or breathes heavily, even when you don't have to worry. Cats can pant, too, and many of the reasons pose no danger. So when should you intervene? We'll cover the five most common sources of cat panting.

Why is my cat panting?
Some kitties never pant at all, which doesn't indicate anything bad. It's not necessary for a lot of cats to pant. On the other hand, certain animals are more likely to breathe heavily on occasion. As always, a sudden change in behavior should mean a trip to the vet, but you may have also just landed an animal that wishes to act like a canine.
Heat
Dogs do it. Humans do it. And yes, cats do it, too. Panting from high temps seems to pervade the animal kingdom. Much of the time, your mouser will be able to cool themselves down by lying in a cold spot until they get back to normal. Sometimes though, cats get heatstroke and need you to intervene (more on that later).
Asthma and respiratory illnesses
In the case of a cat cold, you'll likely notice other symptoms that go along with the panting, like sneezing and coughing. A stuffy kitty could pant to get oxygen to their body. Many illnesses work themselves out, but they might need medicine to help it along. You'll also want to check for asthma, which affects many cats. Your vet will help with the right treatment to manage the condition.
Obstructions
Assuming the foreign object is lodged in their upper digestive tract, you can often find a way to take care of this on your own. Don't ever pull anything out of your cat's throat, though, if they aren't able to remove it with a few coughs. Assuming your animal can breathe well enough, take them to the vet or emergency where a doctor can safely remove the obstruction, sometimes after x-rays to diagnose.
Heart problems
Heart problems often lead to breathing problems. An older cat or one with a previous condition like congestive heart failure might develop some tricky issues. Heartworm can cause some coughing or panting as well, but it's completely treatable when caught early on. Your vet will routinely test your pet for this parasite and you should administer preventative as prescribed.
Pain
If you've ever stubbed your toe and then found yourself trying to breathe through the pain, you'll get why your cat might do this, too. Sadly, this reason nearly always necessitates an immediate trip to the vet or pet ER. The only exception is if you discover a minor injury that explains it and can fix it at home; for example, a thorn in their paw that's easy to remove.

Read more
Why do cats spray? This obnoxious behavior, explained
It's important to understand why cats do this
a ffuffy cat in a cardboard box

Cats can be a curious bunch. They attack the holiday tree annually and stare at you until you start questioning what's happening in their heads. The hijinks may leave you thinking, "Cats, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em."

If you have chosen to shack up with a cat (or keep an indoor-outdoor or solely outdoor kitty), you know you signed up to deal with some potty scooping up. For indoor cats, this means cleaning a litter box. The good news? Cats are pretty reliable about going in the box once trained and not around your home. Why do cats spray, though? You may ask this question if you notice small amounts of urine around your pad. You'll want to get to the root cause (and determine if a cat is spraying in the first place) so you can fix the issue and save your sofa and carpet.

Read more