Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Feral Cats Are Prey For Coyote

Cats that are abandoned to parks, forests or wooded areas where there is hunting or poaching activity are susceptible to scavenger predators; coyote, wolf, and bobcat. 






Today I hiked to the forest thicket where feral cats are sheltered.  Along the path I noticed deer hoof prints in the snow.  The tracks went all the way up to the entrance of the feral cat thicket den.  

When I got to the entrance of the cat den I found the water bowl empty and I suspect the deer drank from the bowl.  The feral cats were out of sight. I made up the food bowl and set it on the straw under the tarp.  I then sat directly next to the thicket entrance.  I used this time wisely to scan the area with my field glasses.  

 While I scanned the area a cat came out to eat. The cat ate fast and then returned to hide in the thicket.  Normally cats will clean themselves after they eat, however every cat that ate immediately went back inside the thicket.  

I sat silently as I did not want to disturb the cats coming out to eat.  I went back to scanning the terrain with my  field glasses.   I noted motion in the brush about 30 feet in front of the thicket.  I suspected that the motion could be from a squirrel, deer, cat or fox.  I did not expect the wild animal to be a coyote.  This of course sheds new light on why the cats will not leave the thicket den. 

Coyote in clearing
Coyote have migrated into the woods from the state park that is a two miles away.  I am sure they are here because of the easy prey.

  Coyote are not picky eaters; if they are hungry they hunt  cats, and dogs.  To remove coyote from the area will be challenging, if there is one coyote then there are many.  The predator that feeds on coyote is bear, cougar and wolf.  To rid the area of the coyote I will need to mark the area with freeze dried predator; wolf, bear or cougar urine. 

Today there is snow in forecast so I will not be able to mark the area as the snow will wash the scent away. Therefore,I will bring food and water to the feral cats daily and thus the feral cat’s life will not be in harm’s way unless a coyote tries to enter the thicket den where cats reside.
Feral Cat at entrance of thicket Den

I am a feral cat colony caregiver, and I have adopted these wild cats. I watch over them with my husband and two volunteers and we all chip in to pay for the cats medical needs, feed the cats twice a day and provide shelter. 

 We all have taken the responsibility to protect these woodland feral cats from harm and to make sure that they are spayed or they are neutered and are up to date with  rabies, and vaccines for Feline Leukemia.  These cats live outdoors in controlled forest colonies.