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  • Writer's pictureDarlene Walmsley


by Dee Walmsley,  A coyote den was discovered recently while installing a new sewer-line. The den contained 50 cat collars! How many cats entered the den without collars? Was your kitty among them?

Who is to blame for the death of these family pets? Surely not the coyote. Coyotes are predators. Their prey includes rabbits, rats, mice, moles and sometimes cats. Without coyotes we would be over-run with what we consider pest animals. Cats on the other hand are also predators. Their prey includes mice, rats, moles, squirrels, and thousands of song birds. The difference? Most of their prey are nocturnal, except birds and squirrels, whose numbers are decimated each year by cats.

Coyotes hunt to feed themselves and their off-spring. They hunt at night. Cats hunt for fun. Most cats are well fed by their human owners. They hunt during daylight and some sleep in warm beds at night. But for the cats who are locked out or allowed to roam, danger awaits them around every bend: Each year cars take their toll on cats. How sad when a child finds their dead pet on the side of a road. Cats are territorial and will fight defending it. These fights cause infections and other medical concerns. Veterinarian bills mount up. Some owners choose not to seek medical assistance. The cats are left to suffer. Some heal, some don't.

Cats who defecate in neighborhood gardens are frequently abused by home-owners protecting their territories. Cats are often trapped and taken out of their territory and dumped. These cats become strays. Lost and unable to survive, they die...slowly. Cats unaccustomed to surviving on their own become prey to coyotes. Cats who share a household with dogs and are allowed to run free, become prey to wild dogs, coyotes.

Pitiful signs on mail boxes and telephone poles with promises of rewards will not bring back most cats. Prevention and proper pet care by responsible owners, is the answer. Feed them. Love them. Keep them safe inside and you'll enjoy years of love returned to you by your cats.


1 Comment

Steve Coret
Steve Coret
May 31, 2021

I recently read with interest Dee Walmsley's article in Peninsula Neighbors on coyotes. I have personally had quite a bit of experience working with coyotes, taking care of them in a laboratory (along with wolves, foxes, dingos and other assorted canids), and having done a food habits study in the field (Steens Mt., eastern Oregon), collecting coyote scats for a summer.

One of the coyotes' characteristic field behaviors is to leave their scats in very visible locations, typically on trails and roadways, presumably to mark territory. For the last year I have walked my dog every day on the trails in the Surrey Urban Forest and in Crescent Park. I have no doubt that there are lots of coyotes aroun…

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