Cat owners might wonder about the danger of raccoons to their precious felines, especially if their kitties spend any time outdoors. Will raccoons attack cats? Will raccoons kill cats? Will raccoons eat cats? Unfortunately, raccoons have been known to attack cats, especially if the cat is acting aggressively towards the raccoon. Here, we will discuss the dangers of raccoons to cats.
The Dangers Raccoons Pose to Cats
At first glance, raccoons might look like cute, furry little outdoor creatures that wouldn’t hurt a fly. They can, however, be dangerous to cats and other small animals which come in contact with them. Some of the potential dangers raccoons pose to cats include (but are not limited to):
- The possibility of transmitting rabies or other communicable diseases to your cat.
- The potential for transmitting parasites to your cat.
- The possibility of stealing your kitty’s food if it is outdoors.
- The possibility of attacking, or even killing, your cat.
What are Signs a Raccoon May Have Rabies?
A rabid raccoon might act even more aggressively towards a cat than one that doesn’t have rabies. Raccoons that are acting oddly may be signaling that they have rabies. Signs include:
- The raccoon is walking unsteadily or staggering.
- The raccoon seems lethargic, confused or disoriented and is not running from movements or noises that would otherwise cause it to flee.
- The raccoon’s hair on its face looks wet and matted or it is drooling.
- The raccoon is making unusual screeching noises over and over again.
If your cat is outdoors at any time, make sure that its rabies vaccinations are always kept updated. If your cat does, unfortunately, get attacked by a raccoon, whether or not you think it is rabid, take your cat to the veterinarian to be checked out as soon as possible.
Why Would a Raccoon Attack My Cat?
Although raccoons are not usually aggressive animals, under certain conditions, raccoons have been known to attack cats. Raccoons are wild animals, and cats, to them, may look like prey. Your cat has an innate hunting instinct as well, and might unwittingly lure the raccoon into a fight.
If a raccoon feels that its food is threatened, this is a prime reason to attack the thing that is threatening its food–namely, your cat. Additionally, a mother raccoon will almost always attack if she feels that your cat is threatening her babies.
Rarely will a raccoon seek out a cat, fight, kill, and eat it, unless it has been hungry for some time and sees the cat as it sees other small animals– as food. But raccoons will eat almost anything, including waste, dead animals and insects, so the chances that it would go after your cat as food are slight.
If your cat and a raccoon do get into a fight, chances are, the raccoon will win. It is larger, faster and more used to fighting other animals than cats are. Cats who have gotten into fights with raccoons and survived should be immediately taken to the veterinarian to check for rabies and to treat any wounds it might have sustained.
Will a Raccoon Eat My Cat?
As mentioned above, raccoons will rarely set out to kill and eat a cat, as they usually have other food sources available. However, kittens who come into contact with raccoons may be particularly susceptible to becoming a raccoon’s next meal. They are small, defenseless and are unaware that they should not act playful or curious around a raccoon. It is quite likely that raccoons would attack kittens, or even small cats, if they encounter them, and possibly eat them.
How Can I Keep My Cat Safe from Raccoons?
If you have raccoons in your backyard or near your property, don’t panic. You don’t need to try to poison or trap them in an inhumane way. There are ways to keep raccoons from approaching your house and thereby keep your cat safe.
- Keep your yard clean. Make sure that your trashcans are not full or overflowing, as this will attract raccoons and other hungry animals.
- Keep your home sealed. Raccoons can get into basements and other areas of your home through open windows and cracks. If a raccoon gets into your home, it is much more difficult to keep your cat safe!
- Keep food indoors. Don’t leave your pet’s food outside, as again, this will attract raccoons and other hungry animals. Also don’t toss your own leftover food out into your yard, unless you want a yard full of raccoons and other animals fighting over it.
- Keep your cat inside at night. Raccoons are nocturnal animals and will prowl around looking for food at night. If your cat is outside, it is far more likely to become involved in a fight with a raccoon at night than in the daytime.
- Don’t keep birdseed or bird feeders in your yard. You might enjoy feeding your feathered friends, but birdseed will also attract raccoons. If you are concerned with keeping raccoons away from your kitty, keep the birdseed inside and just feed them a small amount in the mornings, when you can watch them eat it all. Bring the birdfeeders back into your house once the birds have finished dining.
- Keep your yard fenced. Certain fences will keep raccoons out of your yard, and keep your cats in your yard. If you are in doubt, consult a professional landscaping or fencing company that can advise you on fencing your yard.