Recently Michele Fieldson made a post on Nextdoor Rossmoor in response to a coyote sighting here in Rossmoor. Please read her comments if you have not yet.
No statistics, no public meetings are going to accomplish anything if we don’t change our behavior.
As long as coyotes have food, we will never get rid of them. Sure, we can kill some coyotes, and the loss of cats will go down temporarily, but they will return as long as we give them food. Coyotes are clearly losing their fear of humans, and it’s up to us to make it so they don’t want to hunt here. Number one, that means doing what we can to remove their meals.
I am truly very sorry for the person this cat belongs to – if it belongs to anybody, and I’m not saying this is the case here, but there is no excuse for a cat who has a person to ever intentionally be left outdoors at night. (I’m not talking about the heartbreak from pets that accidentally get out. We live with that guilt forever.) Cats really shouldn’t be outdoors during the day, but I’m never going to convince people of that.
When we take in a dog or a cat, we are committing to keep it out of harm’s way and love it for the rest of its life. They are not inconveniences we can just dump on other people because our life circumstances have changed or they have become a problem in some way.
I saw a neighbor putting out kibble on his porch for their cat. I told him cat remains had been found at Rossmoor Park a couple days before and coyotes are known to roam within a one-mile area of a kill, and he said it was fine. His cat was happier outdoors, and she could fend for herself. Really???
You may think your cat is happier outdoors, but our neighborhood no longer affords that luxury to cats if we want them and our children safe. (I won’t even get into cats run over by cars.)
Our cats are not wild. They do not kill prey to sustain themselves, and they know nothing of wild animals hunting them.
I know, unfortunately, there are a lot of cats in our neighborhood that don’t seem to belong to anybody. They’ve been left behind when people move, they get dumped here, or they show up out of nowhere and someone, out of the goodness of their heart, “adopts” it enough to provide it food. This is a real dilemma because they make easy food for coyotes, yet they have no true person to bring them in at night.
I’d like to put out a couple suggestions. First and easiest, if you live in an area where cats are commonly seen roaming, perhaps you could leave your garage door open just a little at night, enough that a cat in danger could run underneath but a coyote could not get in. That might save one kitty. It’s a meager effort at best, but it’s an attempt.
I know it’s not your responsibility, and I know there’s 100 reasons not to do it. Nobody has to justify why they don’t want to. I get it. It’s just a suggestion.
Alternatively, if it’s your cat that you let roam at night, here is a suggestion from a coyote co-existence website:
- “Escape tunnels” provide protection for your cats from both coyotes and bobcats. PVC tubing works best. It must be at least 6 feet in length, and the opening around 12 inches – wide enough to accommodate the largest kitty, but not so small that they can get stuck. You can paint the tubes to blend in with the environment and strategically place them in bushes along the path that the kitties use, or in areas that you’ve seen them scatter to, when startled.
- The tubes must be wedged on either side by heavy concrete blocks (found in the gardening department of any home-improvement store) to keep it stationary. Otherwise the tubes will roll.
Again, this is a band aid and does not solve the coyote problem, but it just might save your cat. The bottom line is we need to remove the food source so that coyotes do not want to live among us – not just for our pets but for our children. It’s going to take a change in our behavior.
Thank you Michele for your comments and letting us use them here.
One of the things we hear from the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife is that in every community that has a coyote problem, there is always one or more “feeders.”
These people either want to feed the coyotes because they want them around, think they are starving, or are like the gentleman Michele refers to above, who leaves the kibble outside for his cat. While the latter case is not intentional, he is still feeding the coyotes – in two ways. First, they will eat the kibble as they come through the neighborhood looking for food. And second, since coyotes are “ambush hunters” who will lay in wait for the cat or other animal to come eat… And you know how the story goes from there.