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Do urban foxes hunt cats? Do the neighbourhood cats need to be kept indoors?

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Saffy Cat, Apr 15, 2019.


  1. Saffy Cat

    Saffy Cat PetForums Member

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    Yesterday evening I was shocked to see a fox standing on my back fence. The fence is taller than me and s/he casually hopped down to the street and walked out of my view. The fox looked rather young and in good condition. It was probably 3 times the size of a small cat?

    I called my husband to the window and we watched a neighbourhood harlequin cat (bully cat btw) walk along the same fence shortly afterwards and also jump to street level. It immediately hid under the rear of a parked car where we could still see it between the wheels. The fox came back and circled for quite a few minutes but eventually gave up. The harlequin waited a bit and then walked off in the opposite direction.

    I have no idea where the harlequin lives but I’ve done a letter drop about that cat previously to about 16 houses on my block and no one has claimed it but others have come to me to say the harlequin has tried to enter their properties too. The letter was about it’s territorial behaviour and keeping cats indoors at night for their own safety. I think the harlequin may actually have a big territory.

    Anyway, googled articles seem to think foxes will leave cats alone because they react defensively. Like article below.

    https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/are-wild-foxes-a-danger-to-your-pets.html

    This fox seemed like it was very curious about the cat. Should I send another letter drop out? It didn’t seem to work last time as the same cats still roam at night even after speaking to one owner about it.

    I have also noticed down my street in recent months that there are a lot of missing cat posters appearing on trees and they have gone missing from nearby streets. I thought it was abnormal to even see a couple. It’s not related to the cat killer. There’s been no reports of him near our area. I’m wondering if the disappearances are related to the fox instead?

    Edit: have decided to write to the local councillors, they send a fortnightly email out with actions and issues to the neighbourhood.
     
    #1 Saffy Cat, Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Foxes have been known to attack cats, especially kittens or elderly cats, who are less able to protect themselves. A fox may be loath to take on a fit young adult cat though. But there are reports of it happening.

    Living in a rural village for over 30 yrs I've had foxes passing through my back garden the whole time I've lived here. They have co-existed peaceably with my cats.

    When a vixen has young, she can become more aggressive in defence of her cubs if she feels another animal, e.g. a cat, is getting too close.
     
  3. Saffy Cat

    Saffy Cat PetForums Member

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    Thanks @chillminx that’s interesting and not too good for the cats then. Drafting an email to the councillors now. Based on the fox’s behaviour last night I think a warning may be needed (even if people ignore it).
     
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  4. cheekyscrip

    cheekyscrip Pitchfork blaster

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    8B5DA8BD-8B50-45D3-AAF1-E5A14B227D8F.png Foxes prefer other sources of meat really.
    But big owls, eagles and similar can get a cat unfortunately.
    Normally around here cats and foxes rather avoid each other...

    But those here who take care of birds of prey are sure that cats’ bones and fur were in birds’ droppings.
    Even a small dog can be attacked...
     
  5. MissMiloKitty

    MissMiloKitty PetForums VIP

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    I grew up in fox territory but to my knowledge there were no fox attacks. I had a cat that went missing but no evidence that it was a fox responsible.
     
  6. Saffy Cat

    Saffy Cat PetForums Member

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    We’ve never seen foxes interact with cats before, so a bit concerned with the circling of the cat (who is a pretty brazen cat from my experience). We see foxes a lot here usually going through the bins or just on their way elsewhere.
     
  7. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    I can only speak from my own experiences here but I had a semi feral cat who lived in a shed in the garden surrounded by foxes.
    Every year we had cubs born in the garden or surrounding gardens and there was never a problem for Bumble.
    They had a healthy respect for each other but if push came to shove Bumble was always the one doing the chasing.
    Even now with the run set up for Meeko we still have foxes visiting .

    DSCF3055 (2).JPG

    That is one of last years cubs.
     
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  8. Saffy Cat

    Saffy Cat PetForums Member

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    Good work Bumble! I’m on his side. But that fox is cute :)

    Not demonising foxes because I don’t know enough about them but the harlequin cat I mentioned above has fought with all the neighbourhood cats and is the neighbourhood bully and home invader. But it hid from the fox and didn’t want a confrontation. I thought that meant the fox and their circling actions was probably quite dangerous!
     
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  9. SbanR

    SbanR PetForums VIP

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    A year or two ago I rescued a healthy adult cat from a Fox. The Fox was chasing this cat, which turned, at bay. Fox was about to launch an attack when I opened my window and shouted. Fox ran off, cat limped away
     
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  10. Saffy Cat

    Saffy Cat PetForums Member

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    @SbanR I'm glad you intervened and saved the cat!

    Watched the second episode of Our Planet and I was so distressed watching the segment on walruses. Nature is harsh and the filmmakers have a policy not to intervene (which is right) but difficult to watch.
     
  11. Willow_Warren

    Willow_Warren PetForums Senior

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    Foxes are lovely, but urban foxes can be a bit of a nuisance and are very bold! I have generally thought that they don't tend to look for confutation with cats (but there will always be exceptions), whether this attitude is changing with becoming more and more urban and as such coming across more and more cats (and perhaps less of a fiesty hunting farm cat) I don't know...???

    Generally the risk times with foxes are dawn and dusk (not exclusively!)

    One particular incident I remember (good few years back when I was living at home with my parents). All 4 of us were in a line it was - me by the back door... then Willow (little tabby).... then a fox... then the bunny shed! Willow's tail was up like a loo brush... I was trying to calmly call her into the house so she was safe and I could then chase the fox away! Plan worked :)

    Must dash... need to get back to work!
     
  12. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    My experience with predators and cats is that it has a lot to do with how predator savvy the cat is.
    Most cats are cautious and aware of their surroundings. Most predators prefer easy pickings. Predators are masters of observation, and they can tell a weakened target easily. I'm sure foxes are no different. IOW, they would not be a danger to a savvy, healthy cat, but they very much might be to a young, inexperienced cat or an older, weaker, slower one.
    As mentioned, urban predators are a slightly different story. They can get territorial about some areas especially in breeding and whelping season. It's worth being particularly careful with foxes who have lost their aversion to the presence of humans and their pets.

    My cats live with coyotes nearby. Coyotes for sure kill cats, but my cats are smart about them and have safe places to escape to. As my cats age I become much more careful about when they're out and how supervised they are outside.
     
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  13. Acidic Angel

    Acidic Angel Your ego does not surpass your pets wellbeing

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    We have a large fox around here, by sheer size I assume male but obviously I can't check, that I would not trust near humans let alone near cats.

    He is absolutely bloomin' huge, and he often sits on the wall outside my bedroom window. Now, if my bedroom window lead out into a large open space or something, that wouldn't be so weird, but my bedroom leads to an enclosed, confined and small space where the only escape is down a short alley down the side of the apartment, or over the walls.

    I am extremely wary of letting Hazel out on the patio after dark because I have no doubt he would try to fight her if he got close, and I know he likes to sniff around on our patio as I've caught him a few times. I often check the patio before opening the door once it goes dark because a couple of times I've looked out and he's been ON the patio outside our patio doors, just siffing around and then he leaves. He jumps the fencing to get on to the patio as the gate is not left open for obvious reasons, and sometimes he just walks along the wall the fence is built on to.

    I've seen many foxes, even been semi-close to a few wild ones before, but I've never met one that is so bold and unconcerned with people that it will actually sit on an enclosed patio and watch me watching him...

    Just editing to add some pictures of said locations.
    This is the wall he sits on outside my bedroom window.
    FxoLocation1.jpg
    And this is what surrounds that wall:
    FoxLocation2.jpg FoxLocation3.jpg FoxLocation5.jpg FoxLocation6.jpg
    (Excuse the cardboard and dead chilli plant)

    And this is where I usually see him on the patio and the wall outside the patio he likes to walk along/sit on.
    FoxLocation4].jpg FoxLocation7.jpg
     
    #13 Acidic Angel, Apr 16, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  14. Saffy Cat

    Saffy Cat PetForums Member

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    @Acidic Angel I had no idea foxes were so agile. I’m really quite impressed. I wouldn’t let fur babies out after dark with one right on your patio!

    I think our back wall is about 1.8m and it’s a brick wall. Most of the homes around here have walls that tall as standard. The fox must be leaping that height just to get around. I think our fox must be a cub too as it’s probably similar in size to the photo @buffie posted.

    One of the councillors wrote back and will put a mention in their next newsletter.

    I also sent them this link:

    Cat Shelters usually recommend that cats are kept indoors at night for reasons in the article (link provided)
    https://www.cats.org.uk/northherts/feature-pages/should-cats-be-kept-in-at-night
     
  15. Etienne

    Etienne Dad to Puss and Shadow

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    I looked out of my bedroom window only to find an adult cat sitting on my lawn staring at Puss Puss. She was sitting on the fence and didn`t look too bothered. Shadow was laying on one of the cat shelters possible 10 feet away and he never looked too alarmed either. I didn`t take any chances and went to the back door and the fox ran away.
     
  16. Acidic Angel

    Acidic Angel Your ego does not surpass your pets wellbeing

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    If he's on the patio then Hazel has to hold her bladder much to her dislike, until he chooses to bugger off. He generally doesn't stay for very long thankfully.

    The cats don't go out at all anyway, so they are safe.
     
  17. jill3

    jill3 PetForums VIP

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    Please if you do have a problem with a Fox then i would advise you to get intouch with the Fox project. Thay are on the internet and they are on facebook. They can help you and advise you on any problems that you might have with Foxes.
     
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  18. Saffy Cat

    Saffy Cat PetForums Member

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    @jill3 Thank you for this info. I’ll have a look at the Fox Project just in case. I don’t know if the fox is a problem (which is the problem)
     
  19. MaggieDemi

    MaggieDemi PetForums VIP

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    Are there coyotes in the UK? I remember somebody telling me that there aren't many predators in the UK.
     
  20. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I'm in the US - southeast
     
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