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Some kind of predator is attacking my moms cats at night, causing serious damage.. the bites are piercing in nature and usually get very infected. Also, they are almost always about the hind-end and tail so it seems to be something chasing the cats, not something the cats are getting tangled up with. My parents have heard an odd barking noise in the woods behind their house a couple of times.. like a bird-ish, high pitched barking.. hard to describe, since i have never heard it. The bites are difficult to detect until the infection sets in, and then the smell is awful, the hair falls out around the hole and it takes 3-4 days before the cats even want to leave the house again.. one of the cats won't go into the woods anymore and even their German Shepard doesn't like to go back there alone.

They live in Western NY and in a rural/suburban community. The stretch of woods is not thick.. only perhaps 1/4 mile between their house and the houses up the hill? Our community is rural, but they're not in the country by any stretch of the imagination.. there have been reports of mountain lions in the country areas nearby, but "officials" deny any possibility. Anyway, a mountain lion would likely have enjoyed a cat-snack by now, not just injured them.

Does anyone have any idea what might be attacking the cats? My parents are toying with the idea of putting up cameras in the yard to try to find it, but I thought I would try to give them ideas if I could. Hope I provided enough info...

HG
 

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My first thought was owls...could be claw punctures instead of bites. My vet told me that cat bites cause the worst infections though so it could be some type of cat.

I would suggest keeping the pets out of the woods!
 

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Raccoons? I'm in a constant battle in my area with them. As for the barking I couldn't say, I would describe 'raccoon talk' as more of a chordle.
We also have coyotes but in my experience the cat won't be coming back.
And as Ravenlost mentioned...owls!...lost a thirteen pound stubby tail tabby to one right out of our side yard.
 

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Most wild predators that get close enough to bite a cat would finish the job and kill and eat it. My guess is a mean tom cat. The threatened cat usually tries to face down an attacking tom, but generally loses its nerve, and turns to run - getting nailed just above the tail is common in cat fights. And cat bites always abcess.
 

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Thanks. Owls are a good possibility.. anyone know how to scare off owls? And are there owls in Western NY big enough to do so much damage to a cat?

Keeping the cats out of the woods is not as easy as it sounds.. they're indoor/outdoor cats and they go where they please. You would think they would make the choice to stay out of the woods, but even so one of their cats is very timid and never leaves the porch area and even he got attacked once, so my parents think that whatever it is, it has come up near the house to attack as well..

Would racoons chase down a cat? As I mentioned, all the attacks are occuring on their hindquarters as if the cats are in flight when they are "got".

Any other thoughts/possibilities?
 

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MARYDVM said:
Most wild predators that get close enough to bite a cat would finish the job and kill and eat it. My guess is a mean tom cat. The threatened cat usually tries to face down an attacking tom, but generally loses its nerve, and turns to run - getting nailed just above the tail is common in cat fights. And cat bites always abcess.
Thanks.. I posted right before I got your reply. That's possible, except a couple of the cats would not likely even try to face down another cat.. The timid one runs at the sight of one of the other neighborhood cats and one of her old ones just doesn't fight.. Also, a female got attacked on the top of her back.. their vet suggested a hawk perhaps. The old cat was attacked on his arm, top and bottom as if something had his whole arm in its mouth.

A feral tom is still something their considering anyway..

Thanks everyone for all your help so far
 

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We also have had trouble with owls here (they are cutting the timber all around us, so they are really moving in.). Not only cats, but my sil's little dog also got grabbed by one. It would seem that if it is a tom cat, your parents would hear the "awful noise" that goes along with that, especially if it is coming up on the porch and attacking a cat. Sorry don't have any solution....my cats are indoor cats. Just thinking, are any of the neighbors having this problem?
 

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Cat is high on the diet menu of coyotes. However most cats just disappear, very few escape.
 

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Tell you how to find out what it is. Get sticks and rocks and pile them up to make a three sided cubby. Put plenty of brush on top but leave one side open. It would be best to set the back wall against a tree trunk. Next, get a #330 conibear trap and bait the rear of the cubby with something, such as sardines, old meat, etc.. Then set the trap at the front and secure it down with sticks. Be sure not to block the springs. Wire the trap with 14 ga. wire to a tree or stake. Check traps camoflage, and keep ALL pets near the house. Check daily, and you just might catch the culprit. When you catch him, get the carcass checked for disease. If you don't catch anything, and you think it is owls, see about having them removed. I know a #330 is a big trap, but it will kill anything up to large coyotes. My motto with traps, "when in doubt go with the big guns."
 

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it is NOT owls. They can see in the dark much better than cats, and if it was a big owl and the cat looked like prey, it would BE prey, and NOT come back. The hind end injuries need not have been inflicted during flight (retreat) since cats often fight on their backs scratching and slashing with the hind paws, so it may have been in direct battle and survived. Things that bark, assuming that is connected to the attacks are muskelids like mink, weasels etc., canines (coyotes would have won), so a feral pet more likely, feral potbellied pig, (not likely to scare a german shepherd). I vote for another tom cat, and the barking is unrelated


HorseyGirl said:
Thanks. Owls are a good possibility.. anyone know how to scare off owls? And are there owls in Western NY big enough to do so much damage to a cat?

Keeping the cats out of the woods is not as easy as it sounds.. they're indoor/outdoor cats and they go where they please. You would think they would make the choice to stay out of the woods, but even so one of their cats is very timid and never leaves the porch area and even he got attacked once, so my parents think that whatever it is, it has come up near the house to attack as well..

Would racoons chase down a cat? As I mentioned, all the attacks are occuring on their hindquarters as if the cats are in flight when they are "got".

Any other thoughts/possibilities?
 

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On our farm in Louisiana we had a few run-ins with opossums. My mom had a cat that had challenged one and it was severely injured by it. It would come up to the porch to eat and the cat obviously didn't like that. I know the cat had all sorts of scratches and puncture wounds on it's back end. Not to mention lost quite a few of her teeth. The description of the wounds sound very similar to the wounds her cat received.
 

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Very good point about how cat's fight. Sometimes it can be a face-to-face encounter, but often they tangle on the ground, attacking the opponent's face with their back legs and biting the opponent's tail and legs. Odd, though, that they wouldn't have heard it.
 

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Could be a feral tom or perhaps a coon.
The high pitch bark sounds like a fox to me. I would think if a fox went after one they wouldn't escape.
 

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Ever think it might be a Fisher? They actively hunt coons, possum, and porcupines, so they might not be afraid to chase a cat--and they make a horrifying screeching sound in the woods.
 

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I'm with MARYDVM --- I think it's another cat or cats.

Are the infections like abscesses? I haven't had cats in a while, but it's been my experience that cats who get abscesses like you're describing --- and get them frequently --- usually have something else going on. My last cat who got abscesses first was diagnosed with hemobarta (sp???) --- we got him fixed up from that --- then he started getting abscesses again, and it turned out he had hyperthyroidism.
 

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Are you in an area where coyotes would be. My aunt used to live outside san diego and her cats got attacked by coyotes. I don't remember what happened but I remember her talking about puncture wounds.

My mom is saying possibly bobcat could be the one. Maybe you could get a live animal trap and set out. Can it put where you cats wouldn't go into it? Good luck with your animals.

HorseyGirl said:
Some kind of predator is attacking my moms cats at night, causing serious damage.. the bites are piercing in nature and usually get very infected. Also, they are almost always about the hind-end and tail so it seems to be something chasing the cats, not something the cats are getting tangled up with. My parents have heard an odd barking noise in the woods behind their house a couple of times.. like a bird-ish, high pitched barking.. hard to describe, since i have never heard it. The bites are difficult to detect until the infection sets in, and then the smell is awful, the hair falls out around the hole and it takes 3-4 days before the cats even want to leave the house again.. one of the cats won't go into the woods anymore and even their German Shepard doesn't like to go back there alone.

They live in Western NY and in a rural/suburban community. The stretch of woods is not thick.. only perhaps 1/4 mile between their house and the houses up the hill? Our community is rural, but they're not in the country by any stretch of the imagination.. there have been reports of mountain lions in the country areas nearby, but "officials" deny any possibility. Anyway, a mountain lion would likely have enjoyed a cat-snack by now, not just injured them.

Does anyone have any idea what might be attacking the cats? My parents are toying with the idea of putting up cameras in the yard to try to find it, but I thought I would try to give them ideas if I could. Hope I provided enough info...

HG
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks everyone, I have passed on all your possibilities.. hopefully they'll figure it out and be able to keep the cats safe. :)

P.S. what is a Fisher?
 

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Im guessing a coyote to, they are very found of cats.The cat must have gotten lucky enough to escape.But the sounds you describe do sound like a coyote,they have very high pitched voice.And tend to yip more than bark.they really get to going when they are in pursuit of some type of prey.
 
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