“Do foxes eat cats?” This is one of the questions that wildlife lovers often ask. The truth is that cats have been close friends with humans for centuries now. We get attached to them easily, and they are awesome companions. Many people believe that foxes eat cats, so many owners are terrified that it will happen to their little animals. They are not only our animals, but they become a part of our lives. So, if the cat owners know that there is a fox in the area, the first thing they think is to wonder if it poses a threat to their little friends. And actually, that is a valid concern.
So, do foxes eat cats? At one point or another, most of us have probably heard about the fact that foxes eat cats. Have you ever wondered if it is really happening and if we need to worry about our cats?
Biological Characteristics of Foxes
Foxes are omnivorous mammals that belong to the Canidae family. They are habitats for almost every continent except Antarctica. Probably the most widespread species is the red fox. They are very opportunistic creatures and can attack smaller animals.
Foxes do not bark like dogs or similar conoids. They have much wider vocal abilities and can scream and screech. That is why if they see a cat in their hunting area, they will scream. The scream is a call, letting others know that the prey is near.
Foxes do not hunt in packs. They are individual hunters, and most of the time they are alone. However, they gather around if they find a good source of food, which is often in the early mornings. Normally, foxes have four or five cubs every spring, and they often play with them and spend time with them. It happens until they reach the adult stage.
Although, because of the urbanization process, they have gotten used to new environments and are comfortably living in urban areas and have adapted to survive there. Rural foxes make their homes in neighborhood forests and green areas of the countryside.
Eating Habits of Foxes
Being omnivorous animals, they will eat fruit, berries, insects, and domestic birds and animals. Considering this, it’s not surprising that people often wonder whether or not do foxes eat cats. Their diet also includes beetles, cutworms, and larvae. Pigeons and small garden birds often become their prey. They are very skilled hunters, and if they catch something, they will eventually eat it. They are the most hated by farmers because of their tendency to attack livestock and farm animals. So, rural foxes have a pretty good variety of food.
Now chances are that you wonder: “Do foxes eat cats?” Well, foxes will eventually eat cats if they consider them easy prey. If the cat is small and weak, it can be an easy target. Rural foxes have gotten used to living in the new environment, and they will hunt even in gardens, chicken coops, and anywhere they can get into.
Carrion is common for foxes. They will eat the leftovers from the dustbin. Their scavenging nature is the reason they attack and eat cats most of the time. They will even eat dead cats, even if they have not killed them. Most of the time, when the case of foxes eating cats happens on the road, foxes do not have a problem having it as a dinner.
Urban foxes can be helpful to humans too because they will also eat rodents and other pests that are harmful to us. In general, foxes do not pose a threat to humans, but we never know what those sly animals have in mind. This means that the answer to the question “do foxes eat cats?” is positive in most cases.
Threat to Cats
The fox’s activity is mainly at night. They hunt very carefully, so they are silent and it is hard to catch them in the act. Not only does it help them hide from their predators, but they can also sneak up on prey like cats. Considering the fact that a cat’s senses are on another level, the foxes truly deserve recognition.
So, do foxes eat cats? Actually, foxes and cats have a lot in common, such as their size and dietary needs. Just like cats, foxes eat rodents and smaller mammals too. Even if one has a pet fox and a cat together at home and they get along, at the end of the day, they are still wild animals and there is a risk that their wild spirit and nature will kick in eventually.
If foxes see that the cat is weak enough, if they feel threatened or hungry, they might end up attacking and eating it. They can be pretty sly and cunning killers and will often just hunt for fun. Their reputation in that matter is not good at all and most are considered threats to the cats.
How Often Do Foxes Eat Cats?
As you already understand that the answer to the question “Do foxes eat cats?” is yes, now you should know how often they attack cats. Foxes normally try to be by themselves and avoid “problems” that cats can create. It is extremely rare for a fox to confront an adult, healthy cat. As soon as they see those sharp claws and teeth, they know that in the event of a fight, they will suffer and get a bad injury. In that case, they would simply run away and hide.
There was research to find out how significant the fox attacks were to the cats. The research was conducted by Pete Wedderburn in collaboration with the University of Sydney. Eventually, research showed the following results: the threat that comes to the cat from another cat is 40 times greater than the threat from the fox. And the cats killed by cars happen 14 times more often than the fox cases.
Do Foxes Eat Cats?
If you want to find out whether or do foxes eat cats, here’s the answer: foxes do not specifically hunt cats. An encounter between a fox and a cat is actually rare but still happens. They hunt all animals that are smaller in size. They always try to hunt and catch what is available to them. Most of the encounters happen in urban areas.
Foxes and cats can be considered to be in the same range in terms of hunting smaller animals. Cats also come out mostly at night to hunt. So, they hunt for the same thing, in the same areas, and at the same time. Adult cats can be the size of foxes, so in most cases, those two would avoid each other.
Only if the fox encounters or sees a cat that is small in size, like kittens, sick or old, will they eventually take advantage of it. They are considered easy prey because they can not defend themselves. Like all other living creatures, foxes are focused on protecting their cubs. So, another reason for the attack is to protect them if they feel threatened.
If we look at the statistics, there is a minimum percentage of when the cats were killed by foxes. Also, most of the time, coyotes and wild dogs can be mistaken for foxes too, which eventually affects their reputation badly.
How Can We Keep Our Cats Safe?
People who ask the question, “do foxes eat cats?” probably wonder how they can keep their cats safe. Fox and his cat are rarely seen together. However, if you know that foxes are somewhere in the area, you’d better not risk your favorite pet’s life and try to keep them inside. Or always keep them monitored. This can be the most effective way of protecting our little friends. Adult cats are more mature and there is a smaller risk of attack.
To keep foxes away from cats, one needs to fortify the yard. Putting up fences or other protective attributes such as wire fences will keep predators away from the territory. Also, one needs to watch out for the holes or broken parts of the fence because those smart animals can get through even the smaller holes to get what they want. installation of solar motion lights to keep foxes away by scaring them.
The best way to get rid of foxes is by yelling or screaming at them. They can be scared easily, so if you encounter one, yell. It will keep them away from you and your pet. Once they are scared away, the chances of them coming back are very small.
We must make sure that the garbage cans in the yard are sealed and shut. Both urban and rural foxes will typically look for food in garbage cans. If we make it difficult for them to get inside, they will eventually give up in two minutes and probably won’t ever come back.
Also, we need to monitor the food that we have put outside for our domestic animals. If the food is easily available, then they will eventually attract the attention of foxes and encourage them to enter the property more often. As a result, they might encounter cats or small, vulnerable animals.
Because foxes have been a part of many cultures for centuries, there is a plethora of folklore and art dedicated to them. A fox has a symbolic meaning in almost every society. In western parts of the world, they are a symbol of the mischievousness of trickery. The reason for this comes from their ability to evade skilled hunter animals too, such as cats.
So, do foxes eat cats? Foxes will eventually eat the cats if they get the chance. However, it is not as common as some may think. Foxes and cats often cross their paths, and it is understandable why many people are worried.
Typically, the fox is not a threat to cats. Normally, they would avoid such an encounter. Foxes, on the other hand, are opportunistic, and if they see the prey as vulnerable, they will eventually attack and eat them, even if it is a house cat, so keep an eye out.