We got 2 lovely little semi-feral sister kittens from Animal Control since the mice were carrying away the barn, thanks to my 2 elderly barn cats. They have tamed up and are absolutely lovely kittens we are were in love with....last night I was awakened by what sounded like cats fighting outside the hall window. My husband went to window and yelled and I went down the steps and out the door. I was about 5 yards from the action, but it was dark. I yelled and saw the silhouette of the fox trot parallel past me. I had to return to house for a light and found my dear kitty laying on the grass, a puncture to her neck and a few other small marks, plus wet all over, but very dead. I always thought fox wouldn't bother cats? Kitties are a few months old, a good size, and always sleep in barn together. We always crated them at night in the beginning, but they were getting bigger and showing an interest in hunting everything that moved. Is this a odd, once-in-a-blue-moon type incident or are fox apt to take more kittens/cats?
You can hope it was a "drive-by" by the fox.
When I lost my free-ranging rooster & 2 hens to a fox I was told - by COTH wisdom - a fox will stop to kill but not take it with if he/she already has something (smaller prey) then return later for the kill.
I did not witness the kill, but found all 3 lying where they had been taken.
I lost my chickens on a Tuesday afternoon - that Saturday I saw the fox eyeballing my fenced henyard where the survivors were screeching up a storm.
I've since returned to freeranging my flock, and so far no return of the fox.
But I'll be more vigilant as Fall approaches and foxes start to den up for the winter.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
Foxes will take any small prey they can find, being a predator is tough. Unfortunately, this is a risk taken when small animals are left outside unsupervised. Heresy though it may be, I always recommend keeping bite-sized animals indoors (cats also do kill a ton of songbirds and herps and do a lot of damage to populations). I know it is horse person tradition, but...
It's like scattering donuts in your yard and then being angry if I eat some, to expect wildlife to ignore a meal when they can be hard to come by.
Again, very sorry about your kitty, it is always hard to lose a critter you come to love. Hope the other one has a safe place to be.
All good points. I had just never been party to a fox/cat clash, but it makes sense. I also assumed he would be stopping back regularly since he had success here now. If only he would grab the mice that are chewing coolers, sponges, bristle brushes!
I brought my last barn cat into the house not because he was inviting all the ferals in the area to eat (6 cups/day of cat chow) but Mama raccoon also decided to move in. Saw her tail as she climbed into the soffits of the barn. That was the deciding factor.
After that I put rat poison behind the kick boards in the arena for rat and mouse control. I usually had to hit a couple of spots a few times with another bag of bait when I'd see a new hole going from arena to the kickboards. For the most part I rarely see a mouse or rat. Do sometimes find a dead one under the hay when I'm down to the last row but not even every year.
I didn't like to resort to poison but I figured the space between the kickboard and the barn wall was narrow enough a feral cat or other critters like coons or foxes wouldn't get in.
Back in my day, we didn't have as many warning labels because people weren't so dang stupid!
Sorry about the kitty. could have been any number of animals that got the cat: fox, racoon, bobcat/lynx, weasel/fisher/marten, a miss by an owl, a bigger nasiter kitty, and the list goes on....in my experience adult cats are more than a match for foxes but not so the little ones.
I just caught sight of our fox for the first time this morning. She has stolen a couple chickens (nothing but a few feathers left as evidence), so I knew she was hanging out somewhere. One of the dogs was going ballistic around 5am barking, and when I peeked out to tell her to shut up, there was the fox... a rather impressively large fox, I might add. Well fed would be my guess.
Anyhow, my experience with foxes and yotes is they will snatch whatever they can and make a run for it. There's typically very little left behind to indicate they were there.
This surprises me a little. I had heard cats and foxes generally co-exist except when food is scarce. The foxes at our barn mingly among ALL KINDS of animals I'd expect to be afraid of foxes (tiny fawns, turkeys, geese, ducks, horses, dogs, etc.) the only animal who seems to fear them is the groundhog! Though I am certain they have also caught rabbits and ducks/geese.