Everyone knows, the sly fox jumped over the lazy dog to get to the chicken coop.
But when chickens aren’t around, do foxes eat cats?
Let’s take a look at whether your cats (and other pets) are safe from these curious canines – or if they’re seen as just another meal ticket.
Do Foxes Eat Cats?
Let’s get one thing straight before everyone panics: Foxes can eat cats, but they’re rarely an actual threat to cats.
Anyone who’s lived with cats knows they can be aggressive hunters and will terrorize a full-grown German shepherd if the mood suits them.
Meanwhile, foxes may be wild animals, but they’re opportunistic predators that prefer to avoid danger rather than face it.
Compare that to a coyote, a fellow canine that can be quite aggressive once it finds an easy food source.
What Happens When a Fox Encounters a Stray Cat?
“Never trust a fox. Looks like a dog, behaves like a cat.”
~ Erin Hunter, Into the Wild
Stray cats are more active hunters and scavengers than domestic ones.
It’s quite common for a fox to encounter a stray while hunting.
They’re also either crepuscular or nocturnal, which means they’re active at the same time that cats are.
However, it’s far more likely for a cat to chase off a fox than for them to fight.
The risk of sustaining injuries from healthy adult cats us more than enough to convince foxes to give them a wide berth.
Are Foxes a Threat to Domestic Cats?
So what about domestic cats?
Most pet felines are either indoor cats or come inside at night.
Not only does this greatly reduce the chances of them coming into contact with a fox, but it’s also far less likely they’ll have to hunt for their food.
On the rare occasion a domestic cat and fox meet, they’ll almost always just go their separate ways.
When Pet Owners Should Worry
Just because something is rare doesn’t mean it never happens, and there are times attacks on cats may occur.
The vast majority of these attacks happen during times of food scarcity, and will almost always involve an adult fox going after a kitten or younger cat.
But even these attacks are about as likely as a McDonald’s drive-through getting your order right.
Are Other Pets Safe from Foxes?
This largely depends on the pet.
For example, medium to large dog breeds will be far too intimidating to foxes.
However, when hungry enough, toy breeds and puppies may become prey to these skilled hunters.
For obvious reasons, pet rabbits or chickens are at the most risk, since these are natural prey animals.
Protecting Your Pets From Foxes
Even thought there’s not much chance of a fox attacking or eating your cat or dog, it’s good to take a few simple precautions if you’re in an area foxes are known to appear.
- Bring your dog or cat indoors at night or if a fox has been spotted in the area.
- Add a lock to your cat flap to prevent foxes from sneaking inside when the flap isn’t in use.
- Pay attention to any reports of fox sightings and learn to identify fox poop.
- Be sure to get rid of any pests that might attract foxes, and provide any farm animals with adequate shelter and fencing.
- Don’t leave uneaten pet food outside and keep your garbage cans tightly sealed.
- If you do suspect your cat has gotten into a fight with foxes, make sure they get medical attention immediately to avoid disease or infection risks.
- Finally, it’s best to exclude foxes from your property, as they can become a territorial threat once they make a den, especially if they have kits.