Coyotes are a common sight for many people, and their ability to function on the edges of urban environments and scavenge effectively for food means that they aren’t going anywhere soon. Although many people view them as pests, they are a necessary part of the ecosystem.
The reality of the situation is that people have infringed upon the natural environment of coyotes, significantly increasing the interactions that people may have with coyotes. Even worse, many people’s small animals, like cats, fall prey to coyotes. If you live in an area where coyotes live, and you have outdoor cats, it’s important to know some techniques to keep coyotes away from your cats.
The 7 Ways to Keep Coyotes Away from Cats
1. Keep your cat indoors
Ideally, domestic cats should be kept indoors at all times to keep them safe from coyotes. This isn’t always possible, though, so you should aim to keep your cat indoors—at least during the times of the day when coyotes are most active. They tend to be crepuscular and nocturnal, which means they are most active at dawn, dusk, and night. Keeping your cat indoors overnight can help keep them safe from coyotes.
2. Try a catio
If you’re attempting to keep your cat indoors, but they’re throwing a big fit about it, a catio can be a great option for allowing your cat secure outdoor time. A catio is essentially a fully cat-proof, enclosed outdoor space for your cat to play. Often, catios are placed against a window or door of a home, allowing the cat the freedom to come and go as they please but never exposing them to all the dangers of the outdoors.
3. Keep food secure
If your cat eats outdoors, finding places to keep your cat’s food where a coyote can’t reach the food is ideal. High-up places, like shelves, or semi-enclosed spaces, like garages, are great for allowing your cat free access to their food without allowing large animals like coyotes access. Keep in mind, though, that if your cat has access to the food, you may still see other small wildlife, like raccoons and opossums, accessing the food. A microchip-activated cat flap can help ensure only your cat has access to the garage.
4. Use fencing
Fences generally will not keep cats in, but they can keep large predators like coyotes out. There are specifics that fencing should meet to be coyote-proof, though. The fence should be 6 feet tall, at minimum, but an 8-foot-tall fence is ideal. It should be buried at least 6 inches under the ground to keep coyotes from digging under the fence. Rollers installed at the top of the fence will help keep coyotes from jumping or climbing in and will reduce the risk of your cat jumping or climbing out. Make sure to check the fence line regularly for disturbances where coyotes may have begun attempting to get in.
5. Provide hiding places
Cats are excellent climbers, and coyotes are not, so providing items your cat can quickly and easily climb can help keep them safe from coyotes. Installing cat posts throughout your property is the simplest solution for giving your cat quick access to safety. Cat posts are, essentially, just a piece of wood installed in the ground that stands around 10–12 feet tall, giving your cat a safe spot to rest out of reach of coyotes. It’s important to know that your cat will not be able to outrun a coyote, which can run approximately 40 miles per hour.
6. Use repellents
There are multiple types of wildlife repellents on the market that are safe for pets. Simple solutions like motion lights are an easy and functional way to deter coyotes by spooking them with sudden lights. Motion sprinklers are another good option, although they are slightly more time-consuming to install. There are also deterrents that emit a high-pitched sound that deters animals when activated. This is a good option if your cat stays close to the house because you can put the deterrents further away. However, if your cat is prone to wandering, these aren’t a great option because they may deter your cat from coming home.
7. Scare off coyotes
If you spot a coyote on your property, don’t ignore them. A technique called “hazing” involves spooking coyotes to encourage them to leave and discourage them from coming back. If you attempt this, make sure you are not putting yourself in harm’s way by hazing the coyotes. They are wild animals that may attack when spooked, so keep your distance and ensure you have a safe place to quickly escape to. Shouting, waving your arms, and loud noises are all aspects of coyote hazing that will discourage them from returning. If you do throw a small stick or stone it should only ever be towards the coyote and not at it to avoid injury.
Coyotes are a real threat to many domestic cats, so it’s important that you immediately begin implementing some of these methods if you suspect coyotes may be coming on or near your property. Coyotes are scavengers but can be effective hunters, so it’s necessary to do your part to keep your cat safe from coyotes and other predators. If all else fails, reach out to a wildlife management specialist who can help you come up with more involved measures to keep coyotes away from your cat.