There are many animals that look innocent but are actually dangerous. One of those deceiving animals is the owl.
With their large and sharp talons, they are formidable predators. Their hunting strategy mostly involves surprise and stealth. As a cat parent, it is important to learn about owls and their behavior as they can pose danger to your pet.
Do owls attack cats?
Yes, owls may attack cats but they won’t attack out of curiosity or boredom. When they attack pets, it is usually caused by one of the following circumstances:
- The owl may not have access to their usual diet so they prey on what’s available.
- Your cat may have caught another prey, a rodent or others, and the owl wants to snatch it.
- Your cat may have invaded an owl’s territory or its young. Owls attack not just pets but also people when defending their young, their mates or their territories.
When do owls attack cats?
Owls are nocturnal creatures, which means they are active at night time. Even so, they don’t stay active throughout the entire night. Some owls hunt at twilight while some hunt towards dawn.
Do owls eat cats?
The answer is yes. Owls do eat cats, but not on a regular basis or on a preferential basis. While owls tend to prefer rodents, they will prey on what is present to hunt when their favorites are unavailable.
Owls are birds of prey, which means that they must kill other animals to survive. Their diet includes invertebrates, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and small mammals. Their main food largely depends on their species. Scops and Screech Owls feed on insects mostly while Barn Owls eat mainly mice, shrews and voles. Larger owls such as the Eagle Owl will prey upon hares, young foxes and birds up to the size of ducks and gamebirds.
Although certain species have preferences as their food, most owls are opportunistic and will take whatever prey is available in the area. This is how pets such as cats may end up as their meal.
How can you keep your cat safe from owls?
With the curiosity of cats and their desire to explore and hunt, cats have the tendency to roam around outside.
The best thing that you can do to protect your pet is to avoid letting your cat roam during the hours that owls hunt. Keep your kitty inside during those hours. While an owl may not be able to carry a larger animal, it can still attack one. Make sure that you keep any windows and doors closed around night time.
If you live in a location where a big population of owls reside, you can get in touch with your local wildlife services to get you informed of their breed and hunting habits.
If your cat has survived an owl attack, immediately call your vet. The cat might have scratch and bite marks that can cause infections and disease. Seek veterinary assistance immediately even if your cat only sustains a few scratches.
As much as you don’t like your cat to be attacked by an owl, remember that killing an owl is illegal in some areas. This can result in criminal charges, court-ordered fines, probation and community service. Know the regulations of your area and take preventive measures to avoid unwanted attacks.