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Observations of Coyote Predation on Cats

Coyote sitting in road in winter

In 2009 Grubbs and Krausman published a study on “Observations of Coyote-Cat Interactions,” which was then dubbed “Coyotes Eat Cats!” by the media.  This is a very interesting study since it is the only published research on direct observations of coyote-cat interactions.  However, I’m skeptical that this high level of coyote predation on cats is typical of coyotes in general.

The full article is available on Harris Environmental Group Inc., and I have posted a summary of their results:  Summary of Observations of Coyote-Cat Interactions.

The research study was conducted from December 2005 to November 2006 in two residential neighborhoods and a golf course in Tuscan, Arizona.  Grubbs and Krausman observed 36 coyote–cat interactions, 19 of which resulted in coyotes killing cats. Most cats were killed in residential areas from 10pm to 5am during the pup-rearing season (May – August).   In interactions where the coyote(s) did not kill the cat, most resulted in the coyote(s) chasing the cat.  They also found that one coyote was as likely to kill a cat as a pack of coyotes, and coyotes frequently (at least partially) consumed the cats that they killed.  They observed 45 instances of coyotes consuming prey and fruit composed of 42% cats, 33.3% rodents, 17.8% lagamorphs (rabbits), 2.2% birds, and 6.6% dates.

At first glance this study presents a grim picture for any cat lost or living in potential coyote habitat.  Cats in this study had a 53% chance of being killed during each interaction with a coyote, and they had about a 10% chance of encountering a coyote on any given day.  However, before we all give up hope on lost cats and assume they were eaten by coyotes, we need to look at this study in more detail and also at the bigger picture.  One major limitation of this study is the very small sample size.  Grubbs and Krausman only radio-collared 8 coyotes and 6 of these belonged to a single pack.  One coyote, the alpha male of the pack, was involved in 14 coyote-cat interactions and 12 of these resulted in kills.  That means the alpha male alone (or with other pack members) was responsible for 63% of cat kills, and a cat had an 86% chance of being killed if s/he encountered the alpha male compared to a 32% chance with the other pack members.

Predation by wolves and coyotes on other domestic (farm) animals is usually a learned behavior, and targeted removal of offending animals is more effective than general population reduction (for more information, check out the publication Coyotes in our Midst by Project Coyote).  Jonathan Way (2007), founder of Eastern Coyote Research, believes that individual coyotes may become adept at or even specialize at catching a particular prey species where they are locally abundant.  The fact that the alpha male coyote of the pack in this study was involved in such a high percentage of cat kills, suggests that this coyote may have specialized in cat predation and taught the rest of the pack as well.

A coyote shows up at a feeding station for a lost cat

There is also some indication that coyotes in Arizona and California may be bolder than coyotes in many other regions of North America.  White and Gehrt (2009) conducted an analysis of coyote attacks on humans in the US and Canada from 1960-2006 and found that nearly half (49%) of 142 recorded attacks occurred in California followed by 13% in Arizona.

In contrast to this study, the majority of research on coyote food habits has found that the occurrence of domestic cat in coyote diets was only 1%-2% (Gehrt and Riley 2010).  Quinn (1997) has published the highest occurrence of cats in coyote diets and that was only 13% for an urban area in Washington state.  In a future blog post, I intend to look at these food habit studies in more detail along with their usefulness and limitations.

When I counsel my own clients who have lost their cat in potential coyote habitat, I advise them not to give up hope unless they find remains that they can positively identify as their lost cat.  I am only really concerned about coyote predation when numerous cats go missing from the same general area and especially if the client also finds partially consumed remains of other cats in their search for their own cat.  Sure, coyotes do kill cats, but I believe that many more cats are never found because their owners’ assume they are dead and give up searching much too soon.

Literature Cited

Gehrt, Stanley and Seth P.D. Riley.  2010.  Coyotes (Canis latrans)” in Urban Carnivores: Ecology, Conflict, and Conservation. Gehrt, Stanley, D., Seth P.D. Riley, and Brian L. Cypher, editors.  The John Hopkins University Press.

Grubbs, Shannon E. and Paul R. Krausman.  2009.  Observations of Coyote – Cat Interactions.  Journal of Wildlife Management 73(5): 683-685.

Quinn, Timothy.  1997.  Coyote Food Habits in Three Urban Habitat Types of Western Washington. Northwest Science 71(1): 1-5.

Way, Jonathan G. and Marc Bekoff.  2007.  Suburban Howls: Tracking the Eastern Coyote in Urban Massachusetts.  Dog Ear Publishing, LLC.

White, Lynsey A. and Stanley D. Gehrt.  2009.  Coyote Attacks on Humans in the United States and Canada. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 14: 419-32.

123 thoughts on “Observations of Coyote Predation on Cats

  1. Please can you tell me what to look for in trying to determine if a coyote or coyotes are killing my cats? I live in an urban area on the outskirts of town. In the winter, I can hear coyotes in packs in my back pasture, however, I hear nothing of them in the summer. In the last week I have had two cats disappear and I am frantic! I have 18 more cats. I try to keep them penned but these cats are escape artists! I am working to reinforce their pens, but is there any way I can find out if this is what happened to the two I lost? Like, when a coyote kills a cat, does it eat it on the spot? Or where would I look for the remains? Please help me, I have been crying for days!

    1. I was waken up by a sharp screaming and 2 weak screamings of my cat (of 5 years old) at 2:00 am for a total of less than 10 seconds. As soon as I opened my door, the coyote started to run so fast that I only saw a trace of its tall and back without seeing front part of its body. I looked around very carefully, there was not a single spot or trace for the kill. Absolutely nothing!!! I spent a whole day in looking around the canyons nearby. Nothing!!! It is amazing that the kill was so cleanly done. The coyote must have carried the dead body to its nest for its babies. My cat is gone forever since that night.

      1. My cat woke me up and I had just let her out. It was a few minutes later when the heater went off that I heard outside my window a loud screaming noise. I sat up in my bed and listened again and heard nothing. Prior to this night I typically heard cats fighting in the street and usually would go outside and clap my hands and call for my cat and if it was her she would come running into the house. The next morning she was not at the window meowing and sometimes she would stay away for a day and that was normal. So I did not think anything about it. Her name was Ms. Paw and she had been a feral cat who has showed up on the door step one day and my dog got to know her through the glass door. I had her for five years prior to the night above. I was never much of a cat person but she captured our hearts. She always new she had shelter and food and came our way all most everyday. She would even went on walks with my dog. Ms. Paw was truly an incredible one in a million cat. That next evening my neighbor knocked on my door and asked me to walk with her to the side of my home and what I saw on the grass was my cats tail and some fur. I dropped to the ground and started to cry. I called my family and friends and we all walked the neighborhood hoping to find her. The next day I saw foot prints of a coyote or bobcat and learned that a few were in the area. My heart was broke if I would have only known. I will never forget the look she gave me when she looked up at me before she went out the door that night. This happened a week before Christmas of last year. I feel so guilty and miss her so very much. Just ten feet from my front door she lost her life. I wish I would have known this could happen in a neighborhood. I would have changed so many things to make her safe. All the cats have totally disappeared that used to roam. We have not seen any cats since last December. I also understand the coyote and bobcats are still in the area. I like to say that Ms. Paw did not die in vein as we now keep our Shih Tzu under under constant supervision that we npw know wild life is j the area. We have lived here for twelve years and this is the first time something like this has ever happened. So many pets lost. It breaks my heart. R.I.P. Ms. Paw .

        1. Dawn,
          I am devastated writing this response to you. My beloved Lucy of 12 years was murdered by coyotes 3 days ago. I let her out at 4am which was pretty normal for her. I went to call her at 6am and I couldn’t find her anywhere until I looked down the street. Crumpled up with her ribs exposed was my beautiful girl. Her paws were still warm….. If I had only not gone back to bed…. If I had only gotten to her a few minutes sooner. I feel so sick to my stomach that I didn’t protect her better.:( I used to see coyotes in the summer a few years ago but not one sighting in our neighborhood for a very long time. Letting her out has been her routine for 10 years! I am absolutely heart sick. I am so sorry for your loss and know you are not alone unfortunately.

        2. I am so sorry to hear about Ms Paw, and I know what your going through. I lost my close friend Whiskers, he was a loyal beautiful Tuxedo cat. I never really liked letting him out in the morning before work but he always enjoyed it. 2 weeks ago Saturday morning at 4 A.M. I let him out and had to get to work, but my wife was home and would almost always get up early to be sure Mr Whiskers was back in. This particular Saturday she over slept till 6:45 and Whiskers was nowhere around. most people comment that maybe he ran off, but he was a very loyal and territorial cat. And now have noticed all the feral cats in our area have not been seen. I blame myself for not waiting to let him in before I left. I am heartbroken, he was very close to me. He was 11 years old and slowing down. I am sure a coyote was roaming the area and grabbed Mr. Whiskers. I am trying to cope. So sorry for your loss. R.I.P. Ms Paw and Mr Whiskers.

        3. Dawn
          Im so sorry to read about your sweet and dear Ms Paw, I grieve with you on your loss, and would like to ask for me and other readers, where do you live? and suburbs you say? God Bless you and Ms Paw.

    2. Our California Cat went out into our garden at 7,30 am as usual for about half an hour – She never returned – A neighbor called and said he heard a cat in peril and then saw a Coyote at about 8. am carrying a cat – could be ours – with much sadness – Puffin as she was named was determined to get out of our garden to the field below our house – she had done this many time we think – Alas it was one time too many – RIP

      1. Hi Jonathan,

        My heart goes out to you. My little man went out last Tuesday evening for his nightly adventure and never came home. We have coyotes in the area, but I have never seen them that close by. About a month ago, a Red-tailed Hawk did what looked like a test-drive swoop above my cat. This was 6:30am. Needless to say, kitty spent the next 3 days indoors. So, like you, I can’t determine what happened to him. Hawk? Owl? Coyote? He weighed 10 lbs so the likelihood of a bird is fairly low. We have scoured the area looking for remains, but there is so much brush that he could be anywhere. Also, spotting an orange cat in the fall foliage isn’t so easy.

        I have heard stories of coyotes eating their prey on the spot, and I have also heard of them dragging the animal back to the den. Hard to say. I have also heard people say that many owners give up looking too soon. But, like so many other people have posted, I believe he would come home if he could. We are going to continue to search, for closure if nothing else. We’ve been crying for days, but there’s still that 1% chance he could still be out there. I think that might be the hardest part. 🙁

  2. Our beloved Oliver, who ruled our backyard like a King, was brutally attacked and killed less than 15 feet away from the safety of our backdoor. December 5, 2012. We thought our yard safe, as we had tall fencing and installed chicken wire at the bottom of the entire fence line. Oliver never ventured out of the yard, and came when called. We became confident with leaving him out on occasion overnight, because he loved to roam our backyard…but now I regret it. He was a big boy, a great mouser and my dogs loved him. That might have been his undoing – he just didn’t think of dogs as threats. The coyote that killed Oliver, and left just half his body for us to find, KNEW how to get in, and probably planned his attack for weeks. I feel your loss, and our family plans on destroying coyotes if we find them, which is legal in California.

    1. this morning, i found remains of neighbor’s cat, mauled and eaten by a coyote. This coyote has found that this “routine’ is successful for him, so he keeps repeating it. this is the 4th cat to die that i know of near my home. i’m worried that my own cats will be next. I’m beyond upset, and feel totally terrorized in my own home. the dead body is only a few steps from my house. I always enjoyed my home and it’s lovely country setting, now i hate it and feel under siege. I want this vermin exterminated — DEAD. for all the bleeding hearts out there, if you kept finding innocent, defenseless, small pets dead and dismembered in their own yards, you’d want to kill something, too. You don’t know how bad it feels until it happens to you. the poor pets are sitting ducks because they’ve never had to live in fear of predators — they don’t know that they’re in danger , so they make perfect victims. i am doing all that i can to protect my cats; they don’t go out much, only in broad daylight, only if i’m out with them…… but still, things can go wrong. it’s horrible to be in fear of violent death at your own home. i do have a question: since the coyote is repeating “successful” behavior — he’s made multiple kills in the same small area (right near my house !!) he’ll keep on doing that, won’t he? doesn’t this mean that he will continue to come here, over and over — the killing will never stop because he will keep coming back. i believe this is true, and that the only way to eliminate the threat from this coyote is to kill it.

      1. I’m curious, has you actually seen a coyote do the killing and eating? I’m asking because this sounds more like the raccoon that was doing the same in my neighborhood. Thanks!

        1. I saw a coyote run past me and grab my poodle in a residential neighborhood in San Diego. His neck snapped before I could I could do a thing. 6 months later, My cat is missing this morn.

          1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your poodle to a coyote attack. California is one of the worst states in the US for coyote attacks on pets: I hope that your cat is not also the victim of a coyote attack. While this is a possibility, don’t give up too soon. You can learn more here:

        2. I have fed Feral cats for 27 years at previous and current home. The raccoons at previous home and here come up and eat with the cats. I did see whatI thought was a coyotes at 2:30am once.

          Several Feral cats have disappeared the past year so I am worried coyotes finally passed through here and saw these cats. I’m now afraid maybe they have set down roots here. I have never found any bodies, blood, nothing.

          I have Never let my inside pets outside. But these feral cats are wild and there’s not much I can do. I did buy a shed and put in a kitty door in so they can run in there but they do not stay in there 24/7.

          1. Have you considered buying a wildlife camera (such as the Browning Dark Ops Elite or other security camera to help determine if there are in fact coyotes or other predators coming into your yard?

        3. We live in a rural area and co-exist with many wild animals. It’s nof unusual to see my cats sitting inside their hutch with a raccoon of two, or possums eating their food (I know, my bad fof feeding at night) only a foot away from 8-12 cats. We’ve had racoons or possums resting in cats’ hutch too, with cats unaffected sitting a foot away. But we’ve never had racoons or possums attack our cats or kittens…or vice versa. Are you sure raccoons did the killing? Perhaps if they were rabid?
          The sound of a pack of coyotes can be a scary sound however. They sound like they are attacking and killing with their dreadfully loud screaching -howling-screaming sound.
          I have lights surrounding my entire country home, but I still hear them nearby. If it weren’t for my cats, I would set traps and kill every coyote in the area.

          1. I live in a rural area and heard the howling in the evening. I had fences etc up but lost sheep, geese,ducks, chickens, rabbit, and now cats. The cats had gotten along with the others, raccoons, etc. I never had cat problem before. My son wants to put out traps. Any ideas

      2. Coyotes dont usually leave remains So if your finding dead torn bodies all over the place that would suggest a dog who only kills for fun but doesnt need to eat it cuz it gets fed by a human normally

  3. I last saw my cat two nights ago. I regret not going out and chasing him back to the house.
    My wife saw a coyote a month ago just a few yards from our back door. I am in tears. We live in the northern suburbs of San Antonio.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that your cat is missing. Although they are rarely seen, coyotes are present in many neighborhoods across the US and Canada. However, they are only known to frequently kill cats in a few states/provinces including California, Arizona and British Columbia. I would recommend that you also read this article on assessing risk of coyote attacks on cats:

      1. you can add upstate NY to your list of states that have a lot of cat deaths from coyotes.
        on my tiny street, the body count is over 4 within a 1 year period. i think it’s higher than that since the coyotes are also killing strays that i don’t know much about.

        1. I’m curious, has you actually seen a coyote do the killing and eating? I’m asking because this sounds more like the raccoon that was doing the same in my neighborhood. Thanks!

  4. My indoor outdoor cats are disappearing too frequently here in the outskirts of Corpus Christi, TX. These dear pets are fixed, and sleep with us nightly. But something is happening to them, it’s like our back pasture is the Bermuda Triangle. Yes, there are coyotes from time to time. But i thought that with the many live oak trees, that a cat would certainly run up a tree to get away from a coyote. There is no blood, no paw prints, no bones, etc. very upsetting. The city and county could care less. I am besides myself over this. 7 cats gone since January, with 3 in the last month.

    1. you seem to love the cats, so that being the case, please do something about their safety !! once i realized what i was up against, i became much more protective — limited yard time, only when it’s broad daylight, i go out with them, etc. To just sit in the house and wait for the cats to be killed and eaten seems very cruel to me. can you (at least) keep them indoors from dusk to dawn ?

    2. Where at? I live on outskirts of cc too and just found my cat dead with his stomach ripped open? Don’t know what kills like that ?

    3. Where at on the outskirts do you live? I live on the outskirts of Corpus Christi on the southside and recently found my cat did with his stomach ripped open? I don’t know what kills like this? Didn’t seem to be eaten

      1. Shane, I live in Corpus as well. We live on the island, right off of Sea Pines. My husband let our beloved one year old cat out into the fenced back yard on Sunday night. My daughter heard terrible screams from a cat at 3 am. She is gone. No trace of her an no trace of the kill. Our yard is all white rock. So, I would have thought there would be some blood. Nothing. Our neighbor saw a coyote on our street a few hours after she went missing. The neighbors behind us lost two cats in the last six weeks, one two days before our MIa. We are heartsick. She was a sweet, beautiful, young and healthy cat. It’s just awful. I am sorry for your loss as well.

        1. HI Susan, we are in Georgia going through the same loss, a beautiful one year old female. We live on 136 acres and she roamed so joyfully yet came back into house faithfully. She was (its been 9 days but maybe “is”) our first indoor/outdoor cat. No one heard any sound. We knew there were coyotes but we also have five big dogs leaving scent all around our house so I guess we thought coyotes would not be this close. There is no sign and we have searched any structures/vehicles where she may have been trapped again and again. We have searched acres of woods, also looking up into the trees, listening really hard. She was a stray who walked up to our daughter’s boyfriend in an urban area and we brought her out here almost a year ago. We wanted to have many more years with her, she is truly special. I just wanted to tell you we commiserate and know how painful a loss this is.

    4. Coyotes dont usually leave remains So if your finding dead torn bodies all over the place that would suggest a dog who only kills for fun but doesnt need to eat it cuz it gets fed by a human normally
      And then theres human predators Itz disgusting and nobody wantz to believe it but it happens a lot more than you would think. A lot more

  5. My Cat was killed a week ago by something but I believe it was a coyote. I am SO mad at myself for letting him go outside. I always brought him in at night, but I fell asleep this night 🙁 I found his remains in my yard. It was the worst thing i have ever seen . Please keep your pets inside, i don’t want anyone to feel this way.

  6. My cat was also killed by a coyote on Sept 5th, the only night that I didn’t chase him down to catch him. It was the “harvest moon” and clear as a bell here in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I went out the next morning with my 129lb dog and the dog found the pile of fur right away…I thought that it was just his fur…and not a lot…..but you could tell a battle went on, that he may have made it…..but when I went to turn I saw 2 strings of intestines lying there….then I knew he didn’t make it…..there was also “scat” there. We have a huge problem with coyotes and wolves where I live…..the wolves killed a Newfoundland and 2 sled dogs last winter. I told my husband that we don’t have rabbits in the yard anymore……chipmunks are scarce, no partridge to hunt etc. After my cat was killed I would talk to people and discovered that there are alot of cats missing in our Village. I fostered my cat since he was 4 weeks old…..he had 2 brothers and the person who adopted the both of them said they went missing. She said she lost all 3 of her cats in a week……there is not a bounty on the Coyotes and there won’t be a hunt on the Wolves this year in Michigan. The DNR just acknowledged that we have cougars here too…….I am not a hunter, I don’t begrudge hunting…if you eat what you kill. I do not believe in baiting or tree stand hunting…to me that is just “killing”. My neighbor set out his wildlife camara last night and called me today…..he saw a skunk, deer and a coyote on it…..and we live in town….. I actually study Wildlife management at Michigan Tech back in 1977……and have walked the woods all of my life, I know how to read tracks, scat and signs of wildlife. We had a hard winter last year……360+inches of snow…so it took it’s toll on the deer herd…..and we are going to see the same winter this year…..I am in fear of what the wild animals will be hunting next spring to eat…..

  7. Our 10+ year old tabby cat went missing in early August at midday. Before leaving to go anywhere, we always bring our cats inside, and they are always inside for the night. We looked for Max and called him several times, but he did not respond to my call that day which was very odd. He was not given to roaming and should have returned within the hour from wherever he was. We heard no screams, found no hair or signs of a struggle anywhere. Nine days later I found the body of a cat at the highway, which is a fair distance from our home. It was in an advanced state of decomposition (eyes gone, entrails and lower jaw gone and hair completely removed like it had been skinned) so it was difficult to know for sure whether it was our cat, but there were things that could be a match. I couldn’t believe at first that it could be our cat, but have since come to accept that it was. What doesn’t make sense to me is, that if this cat was killed by a predator, what was it doing at the highway? Don’t coyotes and fishers hide their kill, consume it where they kill it, or take it to feed their young? It makes no sense that our cat had made it that far to the highway and got hit. We are devastated over the loss of our boy as it was all very sudden, very unexpected with no clue or idea as to what happened that day and why. Would appreciate any feedback on this situation. Thank you.

    1. Dear Barb, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. From the situation that you describe, it does not sound like the cat found dead at the highway was killed by a predator. You are correct that predators usually consume their prey near where it is killed (though they may carry it up to a few hundred feet if they are disturbed) and they either leave the remains or bury them for the future. They actually don’t typically take the prey to feed their young as it is more energy efficient to carry the edible parts of the prey in their stomach and then regurgitate the food for the young. The condition of the dead cat on the highway sounds like it was hit by a car and scavenged by perhaps crows and foxes or raccoons. It is actually quite common for an indoor/outdoor cat to go missing from its own territory and end up being found 1/2 mile to 2 miles from their home. Though we can’t know for sure, this is theoretically caused when the cat is displaced from their home territory either by another cat or being chased by a dog or predator. After this, they are either lost or too frightened to return home and start to travel searching for a new home. At this point I have only had one cat that was found to have crossed a major highway (interstate), but it is not uncommon for them to cross smaller two lane highways. You can find more information on reasons why cats tend to get hit by cars in this article: Sincerely, Danielle

  8. My 8 year old tabby Tom went missing 4 days ago he is a fixed cat that lives in the country he has been known to wonder of for 2-3 days before normally in the summer or fall but this is the middle of winter I’ve been searching every day and called neighbors and local pet shelters nobody has seen anything not even a pille of fur please reply could he have been attacked by coyotes ive heard of great horned owls also attacking cats

    1. I’m sorry to hear that Tom is missing. While it is possible that he was attacked by a coyote, it is important to also look into other possible scenarios. This Lost Cat Checklist should help you get started: In many locations, coyote attacks are not nearly as common as people believe. You can find additional information in these two articles: and I have done some research on owls and hawks attacking cats, and while it is possible for them to attack a cat, it is extremely unlikely that they would be able to fly away unless he were really tiny (under 5lbs). I hope this helps.

  9. Hello,
    Thanks for the article. I’ve been crying all day. I lost a male cat in the beginning of November, never to be seen again, though I searched for weeks every morning and night and set up a trap with food, even spraying some watered down perfume around leading to the trap. No bodies, no evidence that I could see.
    Now two cats have gone missing since Saturday morning, and while I’m nervous most about leaving them out at night, these disappearances happened during the day, 24 hours apart. Nothing was heard or seen and again, no remains found. I live in north Florida and was warned upon moving here not to leave my cats out at night. My neighbor told me she lost a colony of strays to coyote, though they were never seen.
    My question is, would they leave remains of a cat if they’d eaten it or do they consume their prey whole? A neighbor’s cat and a cat down the street came up missing a couple months ago, nothing found. So these disappearances average a month apart. It seems our pets are disappearing in multiples at a time. Is it worth it to look for remains? Or could it be something else? All the shelters have been checked for all missing pets. I’m beside myself. Also, is winter a particularly critical time for coyot/ cat predation? Thank you.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your missing cat. Frequently coyotes do leave some remains from medium-size prey like a cat. (I apologize if you don’t want these more graphic details, but if you’re going to search for remains your should probably know what to look for.) Sometimes they will leave the head, feet or tail while other times there might just be a large pile of fur and maybe just some skin or intestines. You can visit my Flickr site for some examples of predator kill sites – these are all wild animals and no actual cat remains photos but they give you an idea of what remains look like. The only study that looked at seasonal attacks of coyotes on cats found that the pup rearing season (May-August) was by far the worst because this is when the coyotes are trying to support themselves and the pups. Some other pet detectives in the east have told me that they think more cats are killed in the winter (as their search dogs find more remains at this time), but I haven’t found this in Massachusetts. I have to admit that I’m not as familiar with all the predators in Florida, especially the potential threat of snakes and alligators. When multiple cats go missing, I also do wonder about a person potentially trapping and removing cats from the area. Make sure to also read my other articles on coyotes for more information:, and if you want some on-site help searching, you might check out the Missing Pet Partnership Pet Detective Directory to find a pet detective or search dog near you:

  10. I’m pretty sure it was chupacabra that got my cat

  11. We have three male cats that go outside during the summer. We let them out about 3-4 times/week, for about 4-5 hours each time. Sometimes they wont come when they are called and we’re forced to leave them out overnight.

    Our cat pack leader Norton was outside on Tuesday at 6:00pm–that’s when I last saw him. I called for him at 8, 9, 10, and 11 before going to bed, then called again at 4:30 and 5:30am before going to work. When I returned from work and he wasn’t home, I knew something was terribly wrong. We searched for 2 full days and 2 full nights before finding an area where an attack obviously happened. Tufts of fur were scattered about in a 4-5 foot area, and a few tufts of hair leading away from the scene. We are going to use a luminol kit to see how much blood is in the area where the fur is.

    At this point we are very scared for our kitty–hoping he got away and is hiding. We don’t know. We are having a search dog come tomorrow morning. The site of the incident is about 10 feet from our backyard hammock. We have searched pretty well around the area and have found no other sign of remains.

    When we found the area of the attack site, there were fresh coyote droppings right in the middle of the scene, but the attack had happened 2.5 days prior. Is it usual for coyotes to come back to the area of an attack? Is this a good sign or a bad sign? Is he looking for a cat that got away? Or do they come back to mark where they’ve killed? The poop had berries and plastic in it, alone with the bones of small rodents. Is this also a good sign? Our cat is 18-22 pounds, and I would think that if the coyote was successful that any scat left in the following few days wouldn’t contain random things like garbage and berries.

    How can we tell if our cat was killed here, or if he is just injured and hiding in the woods somewhere? We feel powerless and sick.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that Norton is missing. It sounds like you are already doing some of the most effective steps to determine whether he was seriously attacked or killed by a coyote. I have had a few cases where a cat fight resulted in a large area of cat fur and the missing cat was later located. In general a coyote attack will involve A LOT more fur and it will likely be pulled out in clumps and include the roots. The luminol should help you determine whether it is a location where a cat was killed and consumed. The search dogs can also be very useful to help locate any potential remains in the area or even Norton himself if he is scared or injured and hiding nearby. However, I should warn you that I have occasionally heard search dog handlers make incorrect assumptions on whether a predator killed a missing cat so I am hesitant to believe them 100% unless remains (and not just fur) are actually found.

      I can attempt to answer your other questions on coyote behavior, but I’m less sure about the answers. I am not aware of coyotes intentionally returning to kill sites to mark them with droppings. I can’t rule that out, but it’s also possible that any coyote might have been interested in the area (whether cat fight or kill site) and decided to mark it. A coyote might return to an attack site if the cat got away. I haven’t actually read any studies on how long it takes a coyote to digest its meals. Based on my knowledge of digestion rates in dogs, most meals are passed within 24 hours of consumption, so unfortunately, I don’t think that particular scat provides any useful information. However, I do have to add that based on Norton’s large size, it is more likely that some remains would be present if he were killed.

  12. you can add Albertville Alabama to the high cat killing coyote list in my neighborhood there were a lot of cats being killed by coyotes and yes people were seeing them and the remains we had some woods so they cleaned out the woods and they moved to some woods about 5 miles away, the killing stopped at our neighborhood and started at the neighborhood 5 miles away unfortunately my mother in laws house is there and she has an outside building that we need cats to control the rats and mice! we do this to keep from putting rat poison out so as not to kill wildlife and other cats and yes we have them fixed, but we can’t afford to do this anymore we are going to have to start putting out rat poison again when we lose the last cat we are down to 2 now and 1 of them is a stray we haven’t got spayed yet because she has 3 kittens , we have lost 12 cats to the coyotes in the last 6 months not including what the neighborhood has lost these people have barns and outbuilding too with hay and corn in them! the last one we lost (max 7-month-old) had a microchip and we have put up posters all over including the web sites, we’ve heard nothing, but one of the people in the neighborhood put up cameras around his house and in the woods it shows coyotes killing cats and chasing them! the poor young cats and kittens don’t stand a chance! is there anyone we can contact wildlife or city that can trap in move them? before someone puts out poison or starts shooting or worse putting leg traps out! you have to remember these are country folk.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that coyotes are killing so many cats in your town. Unfortunately, it is usually against regulations to trap and relocate most wild animals. I’m not sure of their exact reasons though it may be to prevent spread of diseases or the issue of reintroducing a “problem” animal to a new area (presumably where someone else ends up having to deal with it). Occasionally they will relocate bears, but they usually have to fly them out to a uninhabited area, which is likely very expensive. You can find some good information on living with coyotes and reducing problems here: However, I’m not sure how well some of their methods would work for protecting barn cats. There is also a good book called Solving Coyote Problems by John Trout Jr. In the worst case scenario a professional could potentially be hired to remove (a polite euphamism for killing them) the specific coyotes that are killing the cats. Research studies have shown that this targeted removal of problem coyotes is much more effective than the indiscriminate killing that usually goes on when coyotes are killing livestock. In fact, killing large numbers of coyotes can actually increase coyote breeding success and disrupt pack stability resulting in coyotes that kill even more domestic animals. You might be able to find more information on your options by contacting your states Fish and Wildlife Department (try:

  13. Is there ever a time when coyotes eat the whole cat and don’t leave anything behind? Our cat went missing 6 nights ago. He was 15, he’s always been and indoor/outdoor cat.. in his early days.. he could spend 3-4 days out of the house but he had great cat skills. He’s slowed down a lot in his old age and in the last 6 months came in every night when I called him, when it got dark. He also hung around the house more and we thought stayed close to home. Last Friday night, we were hanging out on the back patio, he wandered off and didn’t come back. We live in CA and there are coyotes and other predators. I was very upset and worried because this isn’t like him anymore to come back. We searched his known hangouts, put up flyers. Out of desperation, I hired a rescue dog tracker that came and tracked his scent. The dog tracker told us there were two stress spots on his journey… likely attacked by something. Then his scent just stopped near a big drainage ditch… we are assuming the coyote den is nearby. In the daylight we have searched the area… no coyote den and no remains at all… a friends dog, tracked his scent a little further down the ditch and then the scent ended in a tunnel (part of the dry river drainage). No cat remains anywhere. We are assuming they may have ate him there… but the area is really clean. I’m so sure he was killed given the two stress spots. Just wondering if there is every a time that no remains couldn’t be found. Thanks so much. We are all heartbroken but also know there was no way to keep him inside against his will. (tried that and he became very very depressed.)

    1. This is not a question I can answer with full confidence because it is hard to confirm that a coyote killed a cat and left no remains. However, based on my experience with observing the evidence of coyotes killing other small to medium-size prey like rabbits or raccoons, I think it is certainly possible that a coyote could leave so little remains that they are easily overlooked. In the winter time in New England, I will frequently track coyotes and take photos of any kill sites that I find. The only evidence of many of these kill sites is an area of blood, a few pieces of internal organs and a small amount of fur. I’m sure that if it weren’t for the blood and fur on the snow that I would easily overlook these and believe that there were no remains. If the search dog was able to pin point a relatively small area in your search, then you might be able to do a blood stain test using luminol to at least determine if there is a large around of blood in the area. For more info see:

  14. Hello,

    I stumbled on your site as I am sadly considering the possibility that my indoor/outdoor cat has been killed by a coyote.
    We are devastated with him missing – he has NEVER been gone overnight….and when a neighbour learned he was missing in the early evening, he called to tell us that he found fur – a great deal of it ( that matches Moby’s colouring) and though there was no blood, there was an internal organ ( intestine or something?) There was no bones, no body. But, clearly the internal piece makes this quite distressing. I also found what look to be pieces of nails….( remnants of his claws?) My husband retrieved the organ that the neighbour put in the trash – he will go to our Vet in the morning to see if they can tell us if it belongs to a cat. I was told there still may be hope by someone who works with lost felines, but indeed, I am feeling very distraught. Our sweet boy is deeply loved,…and worst of all this news comes on the eve of my daughter’s birthday. He was missing less than 24 hours.
    We are praying for a miracle,..but after reading some of the information and comments here, it’s not looking any more hopeful. He was just 20 feet or so from our front door. We are so very, very saddened. We live far up from the ravine,…but the coyotes are coming in further and further it seems. Heartbroken in Edmonton.

  15. I recently lost two of my cats in a span of a few days. We found the remains of one cat of my long (>900 foot driveway) around dusk where I had seen him frequent. Unfortunately, it was the buzzards that allowed us to find him. We did not find another cat that went missing, there were no buzzards surrounding him.

    I was shocked because another one of my cats was missing on a previous day (possibly at the same time). We did an extremely thorough search of the cat that was still missing. We are close to a river. My neighbor said he heard coyote howls, but a few weeks later.

    I really think there were more than one coyote. My vet suggested that the first cat was run over by a car, but I don’t believe it. he never walked directly in the gravel driveway and was afraid of cars. I went over the terrain (I am still looking a month later for remains) but I have found nothing. My neighbor said he knows where the coyotes are by the river and knows a spot where they may gather.

    I have not seen any skat at all. I believe the coyote or coyotes were either stalking or passing through. Either way, the second cat has been missing for weeks and I assume he was taken off. I put out flyers and more than one neighbor said their cat was missing. One reported seeing a fox, but I do not think a fox would have killed my felines. This happened just before dusk when I make the cats come in. I guess my message is be aware that although they are nocturnal they can still strike at any time. But I believe it was just before dusk.

  16. So far we have 4 missing cats, our neighbors about 1/8 miles away in two different directions are missing 3-5 cats each. I know coyotes are around, I witnessed one at my chicken house looking for the kills of the previous night. We also hear the holes and yips of the pack at night ( early evening) sometimes. What can be done about them? We are in southeastern ohio.

  17. Best thing to do is hire somebody that has a liscence and is professional about extermination. Get a critter cam. 9 times out of 10 they come in from the highest elevation on your property line as they stalk and want a vantage point. If you can determine this then a bale of hey can be used. They will jump onto it to get a better vantage point.if you dig a whole and put scent down it will fumble sniffin around the bale before it jumps onto it. Critter cams these days can set off an alarm to a smart phone. Oh and the post prior to yours. Ive witnessed a coyote scooping a cat 50 feet off a porch I was standing on at 7:45am august the 22nd of this year. Broad daylight.

  18. Brenda sorry about the loss. If you live near a river dont rule out fishers. I have both coyotes n fishers. The fisher doesnt seem to eat the cat but leave it maimed and for dead. I had 4 younger cats that went missing for 2 days. They came back. Had to have them all destroyed unfortunately. Its pressure for food. Cats would bring home birds,crayfish,snakes and frogs from the river (swamp). You read these threads about fishers not doing this but ive witnessed it. Coyotes you find nothing. There radius of hunt is about 4 miles. Thats a very big area. Ive found scat laiden with bones and hair. Lots of walking.

  19. I am so heartbroken right now. My 15 year old cat has been missing for 5 days. He always came in EVERY evening, I think something many years ago spooked him and from then on he was always indoors by sunset. I found a series of dried blood droplets on my driveway this morning, some of them were the size of a quarter. The blood trail lead down my driveway and then stopped. there is no other signs of him…no pieces of fur or anything else I can go on. He was a seasoned outdoor cat and managed to survive for 15 years up in the mountains. I can’t break the visual of my cat being pounced on and taken, it’s haunting me non-stop. He was only cat and such a sweet thing. I know we’re talking about nature and predators need to survive out there but FFs he was so much more than some dumb coyote’s meal to me. I wish I could have him back…any part of him. Not knowing if his remains are hidden in the bushes just down the street or in the meadow down the way is killing me.

    1. While a coyote attack is unfortunately a possibility, be sure to do a thorough search of any potential hiding spots in your yard and your neighbor’s yards for at least 3 houses in all directions. I have found that blood can also result from a nasty cat fight or getting clipped by a car. In these cases, the missing cat may still be alive but hiding nearby. Check out Missing Pet Partnerships Recovery Tips for more information.

    2. Im in the same bloody condition right now. Cat went missing, next morning a blood splatter in the middle of the road, blood trail ending at the driveway of my house. Then neighboor told me she saw a cat in a coyote’s mouth at 2AM through her window. She said it was very silent. BUT theres no fur clumps, only a blood trail and I’ve looked throughly in a 5 house radius in all the front yards and then lightly in 40 house radius. The blood splatter was 15 house away… My neighboorhood is in california pretty much in coyote land too. If I hop over the fences surrounding my neighboorhood to the wild part, theres a lot of scat. Theres a lot of bunnies that love going on the front yards of my neighboorhood too.

  20. A couple mornings ago, my 8 year old cat Simon, was out on the screened in lanai. He had access to the inside of the house via pet door. He did not have access to the outside of the screen enclosure. At about 5:30 in the morning, I was awakened by some unusual scratching sounds coming from the lanai. I initially thought my cats were screwing around. When I went out to investigate, I saw a gaping hole in the lanai screen and, just outside of the screen were two coyotes standing over what turned out to be Simon. A third coyote was standing about 50 yards away in the neighbors yard. When the coyotes saw me they ran, leaving Simon on the ground. Simon was still alive but not by much. He died on the way to the emergency veterinary hospital. When I returned home, I saw that Simon had apparently tried to climb to the top of the screen directly above the hole, in an attempt to get away, He had urinated down the screen. There were three droplets of blood on the floor starting (or ending?) in front of the hole and traveling no more than 5 feet away from the hole. Simon had puncture wounds to his head but no other apparent injuries. Besides being obviously devastated, I find it very concerning that coyotes would actually claw through a screen and come onto the lanai.

  21. We recently lost 2 outdoor cats. Both were found in what appear e d to be excellent condition. The first one was older so we just assumed natural causes although there was a little blood around her mouth. The second one was on her back with just a small amount of blood on her chest but just before we buried her we notice a large clean slit on her groin area exposing muscles and intestines but there was absolutely no blood. Is there any type of predictor that could slit open a cat and leave e no blood? We live in the piedmont area of North Carolina. We now have a trap set but no capture yet. There is one remaining outdoor kitty that cannon always be coaxed into the house. Is there anyway to protect him?

    Thank you,

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the recent loss of two of your cats. That is a very concerning and puzzling situation. I’d need more info for a reliable analysis, but I can make a few guesses. It is not very common for wild predators to kill cats and not at least partially consume them. However, dogs will often kill cats and not eat them. Do you know of any potential loose dogs in your neighborhood that might be cat killers? The lack of wounds is also a little puzzling. This could still be caused by a larger predator like a dog or coyote, but it is much more common to see in cats hit by cars. Many cats hit by cars do not show any obvious trauma except bleeding from the mouth and they may run away from the road before dying. Is there any chance that this is a possibility? The wound without blood on your second cat was most likely caused after his/her death though no obvious cause comes to mind. You may find some additional useful info on different causes in these articles and If you can’t get your other cat to come inside at night, the only other relatively safe option that I am aware of is putting up fencing that will keep your cat in and potential predators out. You can find more info here starting on pg 34.

  22. We have a fairly large concentration of feral cats living in our Condo complex in Chino California. We have been finding cat legs, the front legs from just above the joint down to the paws on our front sidewalks. No blood, no fur or anything else, just the paws. I am wondering if this is the work of a Coyote or a human being. Most here are saying that a Coyote would take the prey to another location to consume it. And this is right out in the open, with no cover . I did call the police and let them know what is going on, so in case it escalates they know when it started roughly.

  23. A friend’s cat went missing for 24 hours. She came home and found a pile of fur across the street from a neighbor’s home. We’re in northern Harford County, Maryland. There was no blood, no skin, no tissue, no organs, no parts, just an odd shaped pile of fur and a few stray tufts. It almost looks as if someone shaved the cat in place. We have not seen coyotes in our part of the county. I’m almost thinking a person could have done this because the scene is just so odd. I have a picture if anyone could possibly help me figure this out. My friend is devastated and I’m trying to find answers for her.

    1. If you would like to email the photo to me, I will take a look. For spam avoidance, I don’t want to post my email online, but if you fill out a Contact Form, I will respond and you can send the photo back to me.

  24. Hi,
    Have 4 cats that hang out in our back yard. They all come in at night through the doggie door. Charles seps with me every night but didn’t last night. We found him behind our alley in neighbors front yard. Remains of his head and two front legs, shoulders down were gone.his face was bloody and so was top of shoulder. Some insides hanging out from under his throat. No blood on ground. We’ve had reports of bobcat and I actually saw one end of our street heading to a creek. Coyotes have been in our are before. Many cats and chickens are gone. This is a city type neighborhood with rear entry garages. What do you think? Thanks

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about Charles. Given the location and condition of his remains, it sounds like it was most likely a coyote. Bobcats are more likely to move their prey to somewhere more secluded (though not always) and are more likely to hide the remains. Coyotes are also more likely to be the culprit when a large number of cats or other small animals are missing from a single neighborhood.

      1. With so many cats being killed in our neighborhood and with new coyote pups being born, how can we deter them or get rid of then? The coyotes seem to be free to kill anywhere and I have never heard of it being this bad. Plus the bobcat sightings, Geesh. Thanks

        1. This site has good information on coexisting with coyotes:
          Solving Coyote Problems is a book with good information on both lethal and non-lethal methods of dealing with coyote problems:

  25. I’m 50 years old and I’ve lived in Orange County all my life. 30 years ago the only danger to an outdoor cat was living too close to a busy street. For those of you who are in your 20’s, at least where I live, this is a fairly new phenomena. About 20 years ago I moved into the house I live in now, there is a bike trail right out my back fence that leads to a cree bed which leads to the hills one way and to the riverbed and beach the other way. What I’m about to say next is going to sound really stupid because I am a hopeless cat lover. I love my cats like they are my children and I cry like a baby when I lose one. Since I’ve lived here two of my cats were killed right behind my house on the bike trail. When I got Palmer we hadn’t moved here yet. When we moved here it was to live with my husband’s parents. They aren’t cat people and its fine if I have a cat but not a litter box. Well I agreed to that because I really didn’t know that those little dog like creatures would eat a cat. I found out that they do in 2001. My son was very sad and my husband brought home another cat. This one had the sweetest personality and he loved my son they were best buds for 14 years. I use to hunt him down every night and bring him in. I was obsessive about it but it kept him alive. I hated leaving town because I was always afraid the rest of the family wouldn’t make sure he was inside. One night I fell asleep, he was inside when went to sleep. He meowed for my husband to open the door at about 3 am like he had to go to the bathroom. I found out he’d been killed just yards away from where my other cat was 15 years before. The coyote left his legs and I buried them in the backyard. Before Tipper was killed my husband found a lttle kitten someone left at a park and brought her home. She’s all I have now and I vow as long as I live here with these people I will never own another cat. Anyway last week this black cat showed up and would meow really loud because it was so hungry I fed it, a few nights ago I heard my cat scream from behind the fence where my other two cats were killed. I ran out there but my cat ran past me towards the house. Before I turned to come back and check on her the stray black cat jumped up on the wall. I thought they were fighting. I found Penny in my room and her paw was really bleeding. She was limping badly and hid under the bed for two days. I took her to the vet and we found a row of six perfectly spaced puncture wounds in her side that another cat couldn’t have done. The punctures were too big to be from cat teeth and too wide to have been down by its claws. I realized I was wrong that the stray cat didn’t do that to my cat but she had a close call with a coyote. Probably the same coyote that ended up killing the poor little stray cat the next night, right behind my house. I hate coyotes right now, because I’m emotional about all this. But I know its not there fault and there is only one solution to this problem. Unless we’re willing to take the chance that a coyote is going to make a meal of our cats; cats must be kept indoors now. It’s the only solution. Our cats are domesticated and some are a little smarter than others but no domestic animal has sharp enough instincts to avoid a deadly confrontation with a wild animal that has been around longer than humans and probably as long as the cockroach.

    I do have a question. Every night when I look out the gate at about midnight there has been a coyote out on the bike trail. That’s not that common. I was wondering if you noticed if a loud cat attracted them to an area, or is it just a matter of chance and the coyote spots them visually. Did you happen to notice what the cat was doing when the coyote spotted it?

  26. Our outdoor Cat was found killed in our neighbors back yard this week, he frequently roamed their back yard and they also loved him. We initially assumed it was a Coyote due to recent sightings and now learned another cat was killed the same week, but all that was found of the other cat was parts.. Coyotes eat their prey, Oliver was not eaten, his belly was ripped open (sorry to be graphic) when I picked up his body to bury him he was still heavy. He was very dirty but no visible bite marks on head or body, just his mortal belly wound. I think it was something else, maybe Raccoon, we could tell something jumped their wall and broke a small tree limb, or maybe the coyote got spooked and left? nobody heard anything it was sometime between 11pm 5am.
    Like many others here we made the tragic mistake of not getting him in the house each night, was truly difficult most times he would not let you catch him at night to avoid being in house. We are in Huntington Beach CA, I’ve seen Raccoons, Owls and Feral cats that fight no aggressive dogs on our street. What’s done is done but can’t stop thinking what it was that got him….

  27. I live in the outskirts of town. I recently found my cat dead outside my home without any bite marks .No blood either. She did have a face as if she died in terror. And her hind leg was bald as if the animal that killed her plucked her fur off but did not eat her. She was completely intack. The next morning the same thing happened to my dog. What kind of animal would do that?

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat and dog. That is a very puzzling description and no animal immediately comes to mind as the likely predator. Was your dog also missing any fur? If you like I could share your description with a Facebook group of other pet detectives. If so, some additional information would be useful such as the size of your dog or where exactly they were found.

  28. We just got back from an all summer vacation, and we have an outside cat that our neighbor feeds while we are gone. I asked about the cat when we got back and she said a couple of weeks back she found a big pile of fur and saliva in my yard but no blood. We have a pair of coyotes living around our neighborhood also. Do you think they killed her? We been back only about a day and a half and there’s no sign of anything in yard not even a tail or a foot. Her fur is bright orange so theirs no way she could have mistakened it for another animals.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. Sometimes a large pile of fur is all that is left of a cat after it has been eaten by a coyote. Blood (unless extremely fresh) if often not easily visible to the naked eye. It quickly oxidizes and turns brown and can blend into the surrounding surfaces. That said, I have heard and seen several cases where a cat fight resulted in the loss of surprising amount of fur, but the cat was later found alive.

  29. We found our cat dead on the 25th of July on the easement behind our house. He was left whole totally intact, his face was relaxed as if he were asleep. He had fur on his head and from the knee and elbow down. But everything else was gone. Almost like a shark bite. There was no blood. His tail was missing. And his ribcage was practically gone. Around his spine it looked like fur had been crushed into it. We put him out about 9p and he was found at 7a. We called the police because we really thought someone had killed amd skinned him. But we put up cameras and found there is what looks to be a coyote hanging out in our neighborhood. The morning I found him there were birds circling so I know they probably had some thing to do with missing parts and fur bits scattered here and there. I have Googled everything about owls, hawks, vultures, coyotes, and foxes to figure out what happened. Even when we called the police and animal control they seemed just as baffled as us. I am heartbroken and just need answers. Does this sound like a coyote attack? Also there was muscles still left on his legs. Please help.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. It’s hard to tell without a photo (and I’m sure you didn’t want to take one), but based on your description it is certainly possible that a coyote ate your cat. Coyotes (and other smaller predators) are also proficient scavengers so it is possible that something else happened to your cat and then he was eaten. I worked in Yellowstone for a few years and sometimes a coyote that had been hit by a car would be half consumed by other coyotes in the course of a night.

      1. Photos were taken for the police and to document with animal control. And thank you so much for responding. If anything its helping me put some closure on this.

        1. If you would like to, you can email copies of the photos to lostpetresearch (at) and I’ll take a look at them. Sincerely, Danielle

  30. Its more than a week ever since my beloved cat is missing. He always comes in for the night but this one day he didnt show up. I fear the worst has happened to him…sigh. I live at the outskirt of the city, where my backyard leads into hills and field. I have heard occasional coyote pack screaming from a distance in the last four years, but my loyal german shepherd seems to keep them far way from my house. I asked all my neighbors, went to local shelters, nothing. Its gotta be the coyotes. I am so furious. I am going to take revenge. I just bought many traps and I am going to make them pay for their quick meal.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that your cat is missing. Don’t be too quick to blame the coyotes before you have done everything you can to try and locate your missing cat. You can find out more about the likelihood of a coyote attack in the following two articles: and

  31. Two days ago my cat, about 6:30 AM, went down in the common area between my house and the street below, doing her morning “inspection.” When she did not return in about 1 1/2 hours I went to look for her and saw her in the mouth of a coyote. He was running into the bushes.. I screamed and ran for the hose and returned in about 2 seconds. I figured they had disappeared into the trees, but then I saw her body laying below our deck, in the spot where I first saw the coyote. My husband went down to pick her up and found she was half eaten, head, collar, and front legs all missing. It was horrific. Then I found out that neighbor, on the street below, had reported to the homeowners association that she saw a coyote running around with a black cat in its mouth. This had to have been my cat. My question is: Isn’t a strange that the coyote must have stayed in the area to eat my cat and was carrying her around for time?. I thought they grabbed, killed and took them to their cave. Also, how strange that the coyote ran off with her in our mouth, and brought her back and dumped her in my yard after I screamed. We live in La Jolla, Calif. there are lots of wooded areas, but we haven’t seen a coyote for years. Could be the new construction on the other side of the hill. Is this normal behavior? Could it have rabid? I just hope she died instantly. Thank you.

    1. Follow up to above post on August 26, 2016. My neighbor tells me that when she saw my cat, Voodoo, she was intact, head and legs, but, obviously dead.. She must have seen her at nearly the same time as I, because she heard my scream. How could she have been in tact in the coyote’s mouth, and a few seconds later found with head and upper legs missing? Could the animal have bitten off her head and legs as he dropped her and ran off with them? It is strange and it haunts me. I pray she died quickly. No one heard a sound. Thank you for any responses.

    2. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat Voodoo. I can answer some of your questions about coyote behavior but some of the other details of your situation are less clear. Sadly Southern California is one area of the US where coyote attacks on pets are quite common (see: The behavior of the coyote sounds normal and it’s not likely that it was rabid. Sometimes coyotes can be right nearby and you will never see them. I lived in Saratoga, CA, for a short while and never saw a coyote, but a wildlife camera in the yard showed that they were around. Contrary to the common belief, coyotes do not normally carry their prey back to their dens. Coyotes actually only use dens for a few months in the spring/early summer. Unless disturbed, a coyote will eat its prey close to the location where it killed it.

      This, however, is where your situation gets less clear. It is strange that the coyote was carrying your cat around and parts of her body disappeared during that time. The timing of the sightings is the most confusing and I would wonder if there could be any errors in the account since witness accounts are notoriously inaccurate, especially in disturbing or stressful situations. What I can tell you is that it is likely that Voodoo was killed quickly. My best guess would be that the coyote killed your cat and mostly ate her somewhere nearby. Then he was disturbed by you and your neighbor and ran around, but left behind part of her body in the process.

      1. Thank; you, so much, Danielle, for taking the time to answer. Your site is the only one I’ve found that offers a personal assessment, which is so precious for grieving pet owners.. Since, my neighbor INSISTS that she saw Voodoo in tact, at the time I was screaming,( I only saw a side view, her legs dangling from it’s mouth),. I can only imagine that her little body was, already badly broken and perhaps partially eaten.This neighbor lives below me at the bottom of the common area, so the coyote had to run the short distance up the hill from her view to mine I scared the animal ( or maybe her dogs) and it began to run into the bushes with Voodoo. It must have run a short ways,stopped, came back (strange,) and dropped her, running away with the part that was already partially detached.the upper body. Not even her collar was left. Anyway, the mystery will never be solved and I’ve got to let it go .I’d like to send a contribution to your Lost Pet Research Fund, so please tell me where to send it. Your input has been helpful and comforting. Bless you.

        1. Thank you for your generous offer to contribute. You can find information on making a donation here:
          Sincerely, Danielle

  32. A few weeks ago our cat got in a fight with something and disappeared . My two teenage sons found not far from the house stuck in s tree with her head ripped off and skinned . u am trying figure out what did this to her my husband thinks it was coyotes but im am doubtful. What are your thoughts on this ?

    1. My first impression is that it doesn’t sound like a coyote. Could you tell me what state you live in so that I know what other predators are present? . It would also be helpful if you could provide some more details (though I hate to ask because I’m sure it’s painful to recall). By skinned do you mean her skin was missing or that all you found was her skin? Also how far up the tree was she found?

      1. We live in Holland, NY wooded areas and farm land . What I mean by skinned is her fur was gone . I would say she was about 6 1/2 ft up in a tree .

        1. Two predators are known for skinning their prey and possibly leaving it in a tree. These are the fisher and bald eagle. The fisher is probably more likely, especially if your cat went missing at night.

          1. Thank You ! I was thinking a fisher also . I appreciate your input and it put me at ease with a better undersatanding of what happened to her ! Although it doesn’t put me at ease about what’s around the area . Thank you again !

  33. I have a missing cat. Coyotes have been sighted in my city. 1 week nowhe has been gone, i have found no remains or blood, signs the day after he went missing. Until today about a mile from my house i found the remains of a cat that was not mine. My cat has numerous places for protection in my yard, garage etc. Would i have found some sign if a coyote had taken him? Plz help.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that your cat is missing. Sometimes you may find remains if a coyote has killed your cat, but in other cases there may be nothing left but some fur and/or intestines. Any blood is usually not visible because it oxidizes and turns brown. If there were remains to be found, they would likely be within your cats normal home range. Coyotes will often eat their prey near where they killed it unless they are disturbed or in a busy area in which case they may carry it for several hundred feet. You can find out more about the likelihood of a coyote attack in the following two articles: and

      1. Thank you for responding. I read your links.My cat has always been indoor/outdoor.For over a year now he has stayed outside.He is always there when i come out.l always fed my cat in the garage but strays were coming in to eat his food. I just recently moved his food to the backyard, i have dogs also so the strays will not come back there. About a week or so before he went missing i went to the backyard at 3am before work and he was on my neighbors roof. He meowed at me and came down but it was not his scared sound, so i thought he was chasing rats. I look back now and wonder if something spooked him. I have hung fliers and searched neighbors yards,shelters,vets and walked miles everyday in the drainage ditches behind my house. I am devastated and guilt ridden. If i knew of coyotes in my neighborhood i would have never let him outside. My heart is breaking and i feel so responsible.

        1. I am constantly told by neighbors,family and friends how smart,cunning and aware my cat is (they all know him)and that he would not fall prey to a coyote. That someone has him or he is scared and hiding and that i need to have faith and be positive. Its just hard.Praying for a safe return.Thank you again.

  34. Do coyotes always leave remains of there kill?

    1. Unfortunately, sometimes the remains are quite minimal – just some fur and maybe intestines. Any blood is usually not visible because it oxidizes and turns brown. Sometimes they will leave additional remains such as the feet, tail or head.

  35. I found what was left of my cat this morning. All I found was the feet and the guts. There was no blood or anything else. I live in a residential area in Texas. I was just wondering what it could have been.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. That certainly could be the sign of a coyote attack. They often eat everything except the feet and intestines.

    2. Im so sorry for your loss. Still looking for my cat, walked miles and have found nothing. May i ask what part of Texas? I also live in a residential area. Never new coyotes were in my neighborhood.

  36. October 8th 2016
    We live on a ravine at Arbour Lake in Calgary, Alberta. Our cats often get out and always come home within a day/12 hours, are good mousers and were brothers – 11 years old. So far they have managed to avoid the coyotes which are sometimes in the area, but this time one did not. He went missing three days ago and my daughter and I searched the ravine three times. It was the third time we found a single piece of fur with skin attached – nothing else at all. It was the same colour and texture as our cat – I would say definitely him as it’s too much of a coincidence and he has not returned home – but I was surprised at the lack of evidence of any kind of scuffle or more remains. We are very sad and really miss him, but still- we would rather he went the way he did – doing what he loved best, than standing behind a window wishing he could be out:) Just hoping it was quick. We are a bit surprised he didn’t get away though – maybe coyotes are faster than I thought? Glad the other one is happier to be inside!

  37. I live in a rural area and hear coyotes frequently. I find their scat in my yard and one morning, one came out of the evergreens and just stared at me. He ran away.
    Of course there are feral cats here all over.
    One night I heard an animal growl along with a cat screaming. As if a coyote was “playing” with it while getting ready to kill it. Maybe chewing on it?
    I heard this interaction for a few minutes and couldn’t take it anymore so I shined a flashlight outside and made growling noises of my own. There was one last scream, a running sound and silence.
    I assumed the coyote killed it and ran with it.
    It was amazing and sad all at once. But these people don’t care about their cats so…..

  38. I cant find an answer
    We found cat fur that belong to our cat we didn’t see blood we didn’t see anything else my question is what happened how couldsome fur be there with no blood I just I don’t understand what happened to our cat a coyote was spotted the same day around the same time we put it all together and we’re very sure that our beautiful nine-year-old awesome cat was killed buy a coyote did you say they kill them and they don’t eat them what did they do with my cat and I think it was just one coyote so what did the coyote do with beautiful Mojo that was his name

    1. I apologize for the delay in responding and I’m very sorry to hear that Mojo is missing. Fur can indicate a possible predator kill but can sometimes just indicate a cat fight. With a coyote attack you will usually find a lot more fur that is often pulled out in clumps. However, you will rarely find blood as it oxidizes (turns brown) and blends into the ground. Coyotes will often consume a cat that they kill and sometimes there is very little remaining. Please check out this article for more information on how to determine if a coyote attack is a likely cause for Mojo’s disappearance:

  39. Thank you for the information. How far will they take their kill to consume it?

    1. Often they will consume their kill close to where they killed it. However, if disturbed they might carry it for up to several hundred yards to a more secluded location. Contrary to popular belief, they do not carry their kills back to their dens.

  40. Found only fur and some feces or maybe
    scat. Where did he go ? His name was Mojo
    Neighbors said they saw a coyote in the yard
    We went down into the woods and on a Ledge just at a drop point under small scrub we found a lot of Mojo’s fur and some droppings among his fur , we’re not sure if it was Mojo’s or a coyote that eliminated there and why .
    It has been 3 months now .
    North Smithfield Rhode Island along the Blackstone River
    Also what is troubling me is how a coyote would kill a cat
    I realize lions choke an animal and put it out of its misery from the throat, I just can’t imagine what a coyote would do to a cat to kill a it.
    Can you help what do you think ?

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of Mojo. Only finding some fur is not uncommon. Coyotes will sometimes eat everything except the fur and intestines when they kill a medium-size animal like a cat or rabbit. I have worked some cases in Rhode Island where coyotes have killed cats. Coyotes can kill a cat quite quickly by biting it and picking it up and shaking it. This can cause death by breaking the neck and/or cause severe internal bleeding. If you are so inclined, you can search “coyote kill cat” on YouTube and there is a video of two coyotes caught on security camera killing a cat. The actual attack after the poor cat is caught lasts less than 20 seconds.

      1. I live just outside the city of Atlanta, GA. We have an acre, mostly in the backyard on a creek. Our 16 year old cat, Mick, went out with my husband to take the trash to the street and disappeared. I put up flyers, posted as many places as possible, etc. Mick was microchipped so I really thought we’d find him. I then reviewed our surveillance cameras. My husband had walked to the top of the driveway and Mick stepped in to the backyard. The coyotes look like an army, perfectly synchronized and all attack, appears to be 5 or 6. There are no rabbits, squirells or any wildlife in our backyards anymore. I found a coyote on video the next day, walking around in our gazebo. If we yell at them, they don’t run away, they ignore us. A trapped wants $800 to work on this pack. I miss my cat terribly, not sure whether to pay or not. Coyotes seem to be in charge. Mick was smart and quick but he was no match for this group.

  41. Would you say getting chickens in the back yard in a fenced in area would bring coyotes around to prey on my cats who like to be outside? The chickens will be in a covered coop at sunset until 7 am. My son really want to raise a few chickens but I love my 2 15 year old cats. We do have a few coyotes over the hill and I have seen 1 roaming the streets early in the morning.

    1. I haven’t seen any research specifically on whether chickens would attract coyotes, but I would certainly have some concern that they would. If the coyotes feel safe entering your yard, it seems likely that they would be attracted to the scent and/or sound of the chickens and would at least check out whether they could get them. IF they learn that they can’t get to the chickens, they might not persist in visiting your yard. You might also consider adding some sort of frightening device such as sirens, sensor lights, or a motion-activated sprinkler system to deter the coyotes from visiting your yard.

  42. My cat went out at night. One night he did not come home. He stayed around his home, there are alot of parks in High River AB. I found half of my cat in the park. Shoulder’s to the head no blood. He was a big cat 18lb. There are coyote tracks in the park. Will a coyote leave some of his pray behind like this.

  43. My cat would go out at night. One night he did come home. I live in High River AB a small town. There are alot parks where I live. My cat stayed around home. I found half of him in the park. Shoulders to the head, no blood around he the site He was a big cat ? 18 pounds. I do have a picture of his remains and prints of a coyote and a larger one I think it is a Coywolve. Will a coyote leave this much of his pray behind.

    1. Hi Shelley, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. How far from your home was the park where you found his remains? Coyotes don’t usually carry the remains of their prey too far, but may if they feel unsafe at the kill location. Yes, they sometimes may leave part of their prey behind, especially if disturbed. It can be surprisingly difficult to see blood around the site since it can oxidize and soak into the soil. If you would like to, feel free to email your photos and any additional questions to danielle (at)

      1. You ask how far the park was. I live in a town home. The park is at the end of the block. 5 complexs down. It talks about 2 to 3 minutes to walk. My cat like to go in the bushes along the complex’s. So he would be close to the entrance of the park. Where I found coyote tracks.
        Thank you for getting back to me. I just need to know how he died. He never left my side. We would also go for long walks. He did not like go into the park. At night he would check in every hour like I him to do. He like to hunt mice for me. I miss him so much

  44. Last night my sons cat was killed and partially consumed by coyotes. The cat has been safe here for the four years we’ve lived in this DFW urban neighborhood. While searching for the cat, one of my neighbors told me she saw a coyote and pup on our street yesterday. I was unaware coyotes were in the area and the cat was outdoors last night.I looked for our cat for many hours before finally finding him about a half mile away on a neighbors lawn. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

    For my kids, this is a huge tragedy. I don’t need a scientific study to verify our grief.

  45. Thank you. I would like to think my dear cat has a chance and is out there looking for home.

  46. Late posting here. Our neighbors cat ‘Penelope adopted’ us when they stopped letting her back inside. We have 3 indoor only cats of our own and we’re trying to acclimate her to living indoors. She was getting more comfortable with us but still wanted to go outside to hunt and lay in the bushes near our house. She went out around dusk and we did not see her after that. I was up a few times in the middle of the night but saw and heard nothing except a loud thump against our large back window- like a bird had flown into the glass. I looked out but saw nothing. Penelope never returned. We livd about 50 feet from a protected wetlands- she never ventured into the wetlands but we searched along the edge and found nothing. We hoped she had returned to the neighbors but they confirmed they had not seen her. We searched again after that and discovered some of her fur- almost she had been brushed, on the ground near the entrance to the wetlands. Further in she was found- parts of what was left of her. There was no sign of a struggle. Out hearts are sick that we could not protect her and that field alone and afraid. We pray she did not suffer. We live in Massachusetts and cayotes are rarely seen but after this I Che Jed and there have been a few sightings reported in our town and neighboring towns. We are mostly rural and about 40 min outside Boston.

    1. Kim
      so sorry to see your Penelope died, I know what you deal with after me finding my dear cat in front of house with no more than her pretty head and intestine left by wild animal. God Bless you and your dear cat. We have a real predator problem in suburbs and rural towns all along east coast. Keep cats in by 10 pm!

      1. Thank you for your kind words. So very sorry about your kitty. It’s a loss that really never heals. Just remember all the joy and love your kitty knew. ??

        1. Sorry those question marks should have been a heart emoji.

          Thinking of you and your dear Hidee. My heart breaks for everyone who has posted here.

  47. I’m hoping someone can give me some sound advice, my cat Sammy has been missing for three days, I let him out when I left for work at 615 along with my other 3 cats, I hesitated because it was still so dark but Sammy especially loved being out, and I knew my husband would be up within the next couple of hours, same routine everyday. I dont know why i hesitated that day..When my husband woke there was no sign of Sammy, it’s now 3 days later, and we are sick over this! I live Upstate NY on 5 acres property. Coyotes haven’t been much of an issue from what we know. However a few nights prior to his disappearance I thought I heard coyotes howling in the distance. Sammy was my wanderer and occasionally we could not get him in at night, but his face would be at the door every time the next morning. Sammy is my absolute favorite of my cats, sweetest most layed back cat I’ve ever had, he has a face like Stuart little, just adorable with not an ounce of viciousness in him…im so heartbroken!! We have spent hours searching by foot and on our quad all over the mountain. Nothing! Not a sign of anything! But I know he would of been home by now, I believe it was a coyote, but shouldn’t I see some kind of evidence? I have placed ads and spoke some distant neighbors and nothing, I wish I could go back and not have let him out that morning, I wish I knew what happened. The stories on here are heartbreaking but I now know I’m not alone

    1. I am haunted by that same thought – I wish I could go back in time. These stories are truly heartbreaking and both knowing and not knowing are painful. Stay strong for your other kitties. Very sorry to hear about Sammy missing.

      1. I got so lucky!! Thank God! SAMMY showed up 5 days later! Starving, lost a few pounds and covered in ticks but he is HOME!! We have not and will not ever let our cats out again! Thank you so much for your kind words, really appreciated

    2. Diane,
      I am so sorry about Sammy, I went through a similar situation a year ago November 5,2016. It is heartbreaking. My post was November 21st
      2016. I did not know at the time that there were coyotes in my neighborhood. I also did not realize that this is nesting season for animals such as they. I never found a trace of Whiskers, and that is probably why. I searched for many weeks hoping I would see my pal again.
      So you are not alone. Don’t give up hope, I still look at his favorite spot when I leave for work in the wee hours of the morning wishing to see him lying there. Once again I am so sorry, and hope you see Sammy again.

  48. I lost my dear cat in Stratford CT, it was this past week 10/22/17 very early Sunday morning betw 3-4:30 am in neighborhood near Wines Unlimited off Abram Street. I found her head out in front of house on my dead end street, it was horrible to find, Do not give in to your cats going out late at night aka after 10 pm. Rest in Peace my Dear Hidee, I love and miss you! God Bless you HIdee

  49. Thank u. I have a little hope again. I live where there are bobcat and counties. My raincoat didn’t come home tonight. I try so hard to keep I’m in but he gets really mean to me at night when I don’t let him out. Alter ego. I do love him. If something did get him I hope it was the bobcat –faster. I just really want him to come home. I quit crying now though since I read your article. Thks again.

  50. My little Moose has been missing almost a week now. We’ve always had indoor/outdoor cats and never had a problem even here in San Diego. A neighbor reported coyotes running up the street with something the night after he went missing, but I found remains that we not his so I still have hope. I’m searching the whole neighborhood and hills searching for any remains. I don’t want to find anything, but I know it’d be closure. I’ve heard cats being taken before and did not hear that any of the nights he has been missing. I have all my house windows open and can hear when the coyotes are miles away, so I feel that I would have heard an attack. We have cat fights from neighborhood cats outside and I can hear even the smallest growl. No neighbors reported hearing anything either.

    I put flyers within a mile radius, posted on local pet boards, and reported him missing to the chip company. I know coyotes are a fair chance here, but I have a bit of hope after reading many stories of the pets coming home.

  51. I’ve lived in Oregon and now California. I’ve seen 2 cat heads and no bodies found, along with my dog nearly dying from being attacked. I don’t go out that often with them and the attacks took place in my neighborhood and in a school park many miles away from the forest. Just this morning, my cat nearly was eaten by a coyote and got away with a bloody nose.

    I would think based on this small sample size that coyotes have no problem eating cats.

    1. Hi Jason, Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m sorry to hear about the attacks on both your dog and cat. Unfortunately, I have found through additional research that coyotes attacks are escalating in certain parts of the country and California is by far the most dangerous. You might be interested in checking out my article on this research:

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