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  1. #1
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    Nov. 17, 2006
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    Default A Fox on the Farm -- Getting Too Close

    We have a few foxes that I've seen over the years on rare occasion. Well, we have one that must have a den nearby because I have been seeing it every few days by my driveway near my garage. This morning it was trotting by my picnic table.

    Two weeks ago one of my cats who hangs out on the back porch was out sitting on her favorite rocking chair. This was in the evening, maybe 8:00. We heard her fighting with what we thought was another cat. We get feral cats a lot, too. Well, this cat normally sits at the back door every night because we will let her in for maybe half an hour so she can sit on my lap for petting. So she waits every night. She is an outdoor cat who along with my other cat comes into the garage each night where I lock them in and feed them. So anyway, that night I heard her fighting, she was not at my door. She was in the garage.

    For a week, she would not leave the safety of the garage, or hardly get out of bed. She was physically fine. But it was like she was depressed. It was pretty sad. But thankfully this week she is pretty much back to her happy self.

    Sorry this has gotten so long. I guess my question is, can a fox harm a cat? Is that common? What do I do about this brave fox? Do I set a humane trap and have it relocated? Aren't they "pack-type" animals? I don't want to destroy a family. But I don't want this fox so near my house and cats.

    So that is my dilemma.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  2. #2
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    Aug. 14, 2000
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    Rochester,NY,USA
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    Default

    Yes, your friendly fox most certainly would love to eat your outdoor cat.

    Relocation is not a good idea as this fox knows the area he lives in now and is familiar with any predators in his area. If you move him to a new location, he has to find new sources of food and water and shelter and needs to keep an eye out for other predators which he may not be knowledgeable and he may not survive. It's actually a cruel thing to do unfortunately. Misty Blue will probably chime in here and tell you pretty much the same thing.

    Unfortunately if you want to keep your outdoor cat safe, bring him inside permanently. My neighbor lost her cat and probably was to a fox and another neighbor said he saw a fox grab his wife's kitten and rip it's leg off. Yes, he was able to shoot said fox and had to euthanize the kitten.
    Sue
    Back in my day, we didn't have as many warning labels because people weren't so dang stupid!


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  3. #3
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    Nov. 6, 2009
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    Foxes are very difficult to trap. Even if you can trap it, relocating wildlife is illegal in most states and is a bad idea anyway. Foxes are a tough predator to deal with.



  4. #4
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    Jul. 13, 2011
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    East Longmeadow, MA
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    Yes, foxes will eat kitty cats. That's why (along with coyotes, bobcats, and possibly a fisher) mine are all indoor cats now.
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


    4 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    May. 26, 2011
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    Default

    Predators are just part of the normal environment out in the rural areas. We have foxes, coyotes, bobcats, etc.

    I am always fearful when mom comes to visit with her 13 lb dog. I'm waiting for something to come flying out of the woods and grab her dog. Luckily, our 3 big dogs tend to keep them at bay but one day ...
    "I couldn't find my keys, so I put her in the trunk"



  6. #6
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    Nov. 17, 2006
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    Okay, I am now thinking this fox is a female and she has kits/babies in a nearby den. I was just outside standing by my picnic table about 20 minutes ago and out "she" came from one side of my farm, "cantered" straight across my yard about 75 feet from me, to the other side of the farm.

    I wont try to trap her. I don't want to leave babies unattended. But she makes me nervous. My two cats are 13 and 15 years old, and not sure they would transition to house cats easily. Plus they both have claws and I won't declaw them. I don't know. What a dilemma. Like I mentioned, they do get locked up at night, and I now make sure all their food is put up when the garage door is cracked open.

    Thanks, all.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2009
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    North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by oliverreed View Post
    Yes, foxes will eat kitty cats. That's why (along with coyotes, bobcats, and possibly a fisher) mine are all indoor cats now.
    THANK YOU, olverreed, on behalf of songbirds, salamander, skinks, and luna moths everywhere! And yes, this is the only safe solution for kitties and greatly extends their lives.

    msj said it perfectly -- it is illegal in most states and not only is it a lot of work for you, in most cases, the relocated animal will die due to being pulled from its home territory. In addition, you just open up a niche for a new individual to move in. Lose-lose for both parties.

    I adore cats, but unfortunately, the harsh truth is that outdoor cats are bite-sized snacks, particularly for coyotes (much more likely to eat kitty than foxes, but prettier). It is also pup season, so hungry moms are on the prowl and finding and killing prey is energetically very expensive, so the easier, the better.

    Foxes are also naturally curious and will often come close or sit and watch the goings-on. Particularly if it is an area with homes and they are acclimated to human presence. I love to watch them when I see them (grey foxes can climb trees, bada$$!), but ours are pretty wild.
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    Apr. 2, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParadoxFarm View Post
    My two cats are 13 and 15 years old, and not sure they would transition to house cats easily. Plus they both have claws and I won't declaw them.
    If your garage doors are usually closed and there is good airflow, could they be garage kitties? If not, you might be surprised by them enjoying the house, particularly as they get older. They might whine at first, but one of my housecats is a dumped stray who lived outside for about a year and when a door opens, you can almost see him think "hells to the no -- I have climate control, I'm dry, and I get soft things and furniture to lay on!

    As for claws, I don't declaw mine either, but I do keep the front claws trimmed and provide them with a couple scratching posts, which they loved. The two I have now, both I have to sit on to trim their claws and they holler at me, but it's quick & easy and they get over it about 45 seconds afterwards, LOL.
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
    We Are Flying Solo


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Funny thing is, we've been here for 6 or 7 years now and this is the first time it's been a problem. I've seen one maybe three times prior to this spring.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  10. #10
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    Oct. 14, 2010
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    Altho definitely not saying foxes are not to blame for your cats bumps and lumps! - Here are some other considerations.

    Animal populations are always in flux as the wild and feral populations have shorter life spans, so new animals are always coming onto the scene. And wild animal populations usually go through boom and bust periods (that follow plant and small mammal boom and bust cycles.) So foxes and other critters could fluctuate greatly in x number of years cycle.

    Don't rule out another feral super bully cat has moved into the neighborhood. New cats are always coming around our neighborhood and the existing cats sometimes don't fare so well. That's the problem with aging cats and the constantly changing feral cat population.

    Another commonly blamed critter is the coyote, when in fact the attacker was a pack of local dogs.
    Last edited by Justa Bob; Apr. 23, 2014 at 03:17 PM.


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  11. #11
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    Jan. 26, 2006
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    Fort Worth, Texas
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    We have had foxes around for many years, we just make sure all of our animals are vaccinated for rabies

    What would eat our cats were the coyotes, not the foxes

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  12. #12
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    We have coyotes here, too, but they haven't come all that close to the farm. I watched a bunch of videos on Youtube (did I already say this? Too lazy to check) with cats and foxes in altercations. Most cats seem to hold their own. But that's a limited number of videos I watched.

    I'm also worried that I won't see the fox and let my dogs out (which I do several times a day when I go out to the barn, etc.). My Malinois will give it chase for sure. I don't really want that. Again, I don't want to HURT the fox. I just wish it wasn't on my property!

    I was looking out my window a short while ago, and once again I saw it trotting around on the edge of the woods. She must be hunting for her babies. She is very active. That's three times I saw her just today.

    Thanks, all.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justa Bob View Post
    Altho definitely not saying foxes are not to blame for your cats bumps and lumps! - Here are some other considerations.

    Animal populations are always in flux as the wild and feral populations have shorter life spans, so new animals are always coming onto the scene. And wild animal populations usually go through boom and bust periods (that follow plant and small mammal boom and bust cycles.) So foxes and other critters could fluctuate greatly in x number of years cycle.

    Don't rule out another feral super bully cat has moved into the neighborhood. New cats are always coming around our neighborhood and the existing cats sometimes don't fare so well. That's the problem with aging cats and the constantly changing feral cat population.

    Another commonly blamed critter is the coyote, when in fact the attacker was a pack of local dogs.
    Yes, I originally thought it was a feral cat. And maybe it still is and it's just a coincidence it happened while this fox is being seen. By we've had tons of ferals and my girls hold their own with those tom cats. (shrug). But who knows.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  14. #14
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    Dec. 15, 2005
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    We had a fox who used to come to our back door and bark for a dog biscuit if she couldn't find one that our dogs had left behind. She drove the dogs crazy until they got used to her. She also had some sort of a toy exchange going with them. Tennis balls and golf balls would appear in our yard and our dogs' toys would be gone.

    Our neighbors called us over a year ago to say our fox had been killed by a coyote. We had no foxes for a while. Now, the coyote pack has moved on and a few, not tame, foxes are back.

    Enjoy your fox. I think she will show you her babies soon.



  15. #15
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    Interesting, AKB. Okay, I was looking out my window yet again (I'm working on a boring transcript, and my window faces the barn and the area where I see the foxes). I see PART of the mystery changing. There are TWO of them. I tried to get video, and only got video of the one. And then "she" went into my riding arena. Hope she stays out of the barn.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  16. #16
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    About 2000 we had a family of red foxes in the huge fields, and hedges around our library. Every now and then we would startle one while we were going out to the back parking lot, and around dusk you could see the white tail tip streak by. The pair had three kits, a girl and two boys, and they would play on the back lawn of the library. The day we knew they were all grown up and would leave soon, was the day one of the young ones bagged a full grown squirrel. The staff and customers would watch them out the window, and one of the customers called us to come and look-one of the young ones was trotting by with the squirrel, and the other two and the parents, were following behind. We knew they would all relocate soon, and they did. We all certainly enjoyed watching them grow up.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  17. #17
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    May. 25, 2005
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    best place so far
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    Last year I had a family of fox with one den on the edge of my property and another one in my hay barn. I loved watching the babies play in the arena. They too would get closer than I would have expected. Once they grew up the whole family left and I have not seen them since. I have two barn cats that seemed unfazed by the fox. Having said that a few years back I lost a barn kitty somehow Just disappeared.
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  18. #18
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    Apr. 13, 2008
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    Sounds like you've got a mother fox with kits - the ones with routines are usually harboring family near by. Stick around and in a few weeks you might see the kits, they are the cutest. The kits can be very inquisitive, and are fairly vocal.

    Unfortunately for your kitty, foxes sometimes will look to the feline population for sustenance. It depends on your cat size, I think - I've watched foxes trot past cats without a care and have never seen them go after any of the feral cats we have here, but I have also heard of mothers carrying off cats for their kits.
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012



  19. #19
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Had a female fox den up under our tractor last year and have kits. The fox are all over here (in NoVA). I have first hand seen several outdoor cats get picked up by fox. Why? Because my dogs watch "Fox TV" all damned night now looking out the windows for the action so they bark and I get up just in time to see yet another neighbor's cat get taken down.

    If you like your cats, keep them in overnight at least. And yes, the coyotes too--lost most of our barn cats in TX to coyotes.

    But anyway, I see fox day and night here in NoVA. They're well fed--on cats I think.

    Even if they don't nail your cats and kill them, they can cause abscesses, transmit other disease, etc. They're awesome little critters that do a great job of rodent control too. But then again, I don't have outdoor cats. And they do seem to be prime prey around my house.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  20. #20
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    Aug. 13, 2009
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    I have a momma fox with kits here too! I think I've had the same fox for a few years as this is my 3rd or 4th time seeing her with babies. Her den seems to be near the edge of my woods by my arena. She is often sitting in my ring watching me while I'm doing stuff around the farm. She will get fairly close, about 50' is the closest, but usually a little more. I have gotten to see her current group of kits for about 2 weeks now. There are 3 and they are so playful! One certainly seems very brave, and he beats up mom too. They are starting to lose their fluffy brownish coat and get a bit more orange now.

    As for my barn cat, so far she has been just fine, but she's super "street smart". My cat has been here for about 10 years now, and so far so good. She's had some fights with other cats. One thing is I never leave her food out, ever! If I'm out there, her food is out, when I go in, so does her food. It helps keep the other kritters away from my barn. I enjoy having the foxes around frankly, and my cat likes her life in the barn, so hopefully all will stay peaceful.
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