Juniper Times

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Feral Cats and Coyotes

Today I want to talk to you about the danger posed by coyotes to feral cats. I live next to a horse farm. I have a lot of feral cats around my place. I have always left out food and water for them. As a result, some of them have chosen to take up residence here. A couple of the Momma cats have had their babies here. I guess they feel safe. They are not safe.

Coyotes roam the valley here. I can hear them at night yipping and howling in the night. One of the things that coyotes love to eat are feral cats. Over the last two weeks, over six cats, between my place and my neighbor’s place, have gone missing. Of the April litter, there is only one out of three kittens left. It greatly saddens me to come out in the morning to missing cats. One day they are there. The next day they are gone, never to return.

One night last week I was walking out to my fire pit to make sure the fire was out and I heard the coyotes closer than I had ever heard them before. They sounded like they were no more than a quarter mile away. They were quiet loud. It actually made me run back to my house. Not much scares me living in this valley. The sound of a feeding coyote pack is truly blood chilling.

The last remaining kitten has actually been letting me get close and pet him. Last week he let me pick him up and hold him. I talked to him very softly. At that moment, I decided I was going to rescue him. Of all the feral cats that have gone missing, this is actually one that I can save. None of the other ones will let me touch them or get too close. They scoot off to a safe distance and look at me if I reach my hand out. This little one is the only one who has let him make contact.

I made an appointment with my Veterinarian and put him in the carrier. He cried for about 15 minutes very loudly. I put on Sade and talked to him softly. He calmed down. We was so afraid at the Vet. He tucked his head into the crook of my elbow and tried to hide. He was shaking like a leaf. He got the all clear from the Vet and I brought him home.

While I was at the Vet, I asked about the feral cats and the coyotes. I was told that people were calling with reports of cats going missing. There were ten gone from one person and six gone from another. The Vet told me it’s good I was rescuing him.

I am delighted to report that the inside cats have taken to him quite nicely. The first couple days were a little rough. He got the hissing and the yowling from the older cats. He stood his ground and has been quite brave. They are all calmed down and they all seem to be getting along. The transition was quite fast.

If you have feral cats and live near coyotes, please be aware of the dangers. I’m not sure there is anything to be done other than trying to domesticate them and find them homes. However, like in my case, not all of them want to be domesticated. You can only save the ones that choose to let you near them. Do the best you can. One life saved is important!