A poster of a missing cat has been hung on a pole in our neighborhood and it makes me sad. There are often pictures of missing kitties and neighbors asking me if I’ve seen their feline friend. What do you say when you’ve seen the coyotes roaming around behind the backyard fences? I have my suspicions about exactly what those wily critters are planning and it probably means the demise of that missing cat.
The houses on our side of the street back to open space, land preserved from any building or development. It’s wild and beautiful and lovely to look at but the truth is it means the wild critters have this land preserved for their use and we, as humans, often forget we have to share. That open space is home to many animals who use the area for their playground, their living areas, and, of course, where they hunt for their next meal. It’s not as if Safeway sells to coyotes, even if they did open a line of credit.
There are plenty of things a coyote hunts in the hills. Little wild varmints like voles, field mice, gophers, or rabbits make a quick, nutritious meal. However, an even easier prey is the domesticated house cat. These cats live in the lap of luxury, eating high quality Iams and Nutro food and their litter pan makes them pretty much never have to leave home, unless it’s to the dreaded veterinarian’s office. When they do get some freedom, they lay basking in the sun or attempting to catch a mouse or moth.
Our cat, Pixie, has on some occasions made a break for it and run for the hills. Foolish cat. First of all, she has bright pink nail covers that prevent her from clawing our furniture and would make any defenses she might mount against a veracious predator null (he or she might laugh at poor Pixie cat first . . . pink claws? Dude.) Second of all, she has no street smarts or ability to out think or outrun a coyote.
Other neighbors let their cats out during the daytime hours, mistakenly believing coyotes only hunt at night. This is a huge myth. The coyotes like to hang out every day behind our house and plot their daily activities or whatever it is they do. Once in a while they drag what they’ve killed up to our fence line (it’s see through) and we have the joy of watching them munch on whatever critter fell to their hunt.
I’ve gone up to the fence to check on sprinklers or the drainage ditch and have seen numerous cat collars in the ditch and on the other side of the fence. Sad to say, Fluffy is not coming home, but I know just the answer to make sure this doesn’t happen to your precious feline.
No matter how hard your kitty cries and begs, pleading and promising to be home by curfew, just say no. No, you can’t go outside, the big bad coyote will eat you for lunch or dinner or maybe even a snack. I know it seems cruel that kitty can’t go and hunt along with the other critters of the field and stream, but our kitties are just that, pampered babies of the household variety and not able to outrun or win a fight with a wild predator, especially after dining in the lap of luxury and becoming nice and plump.
Coyotes have adapted to living in the middle of suburbia and they know that people mean an easy food source. They will scout and find houses with outside food or water for their dining pleasure. And dining in your yard may mean dining on your pet, especially a small dog or that cat. Empty those dishes during the night time and maybe the coyote will move on.
I tell everyone that comes to my door asking if I’ve seen Fluffy, do not let house cats outside. Let’s keep them safe and happy inside.
Pixie believes the inside of our house is her domain, especially the upstairs master bedroom. People may sleep on the very edge of the bed but don’t disturb the stripy kitty, sprawled in the middle. Just to clarify, she is a pretty good hunter herself, just last week she caught a huge moth. Murdered him right there in the living room. That’s called earning your Iams.