Do Raccoons Attack and Eat Cats?

Last Updated: March 26, 2021

Do raccoons attack and eat cats? This will depend on the situation, as well as the individuals involved. This is because raccoons do not see cats as prey unless they are kittens. Raccoons are more like scavengers, explaining why they are infamous for rummaging through garbage. To a raccoon, a cat is too much trouble to pursue.

With that said, a raccoon is still a legitimate threat to any cat. We’ll explain why below.

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Why are Raccoons a Threat to Cats?

Like cats, raccoons are also nocturnal critters, meaning that they are active mostly at night. However, unlike your cat, a raccoon has to fend for itself, which means looking anywhere and everywhere for food.

Unfortunately, their highly sensitive noses can bring them right to your doorstep or yard. What attracts raccoons to your compound, you ask? The most common culprits are the contents of your trash cans. The other thing that can attract these ring-tailed bandits to your compound is pet food.


Territorial Instincts

racoon eating cat food
Image Credit: James R Poston, Shutterstock

Nonetheless, regardless of the reason, they will be stepping into your yard. Now, if you know anything about felines, then you know how territorial they can be. Therefore, while the raccoon might simply be looking for a snack, your cat might not take kindly to the blatant trespassing. Depending on your cat’s personality, a fight may ensue, with the cat being the aggressor.


Size & Skill

raccoon and cat on the roof
Image Credit: Joanne, Flickr

However, size does matter. A good illustration of why size matters is the need for weight classes in professional combat sports, such as boxing. A 200-pound individual is likely to beat a 135-pounder even if the latter is more skilled.

Similarly, a raccoon is almost likely always going to beat a cat in a full-blown fight, despite the cat’s superior reflexes. The bandit is simply too big for your kitty. Fortunately, it is highly unlikely that a raccoon will kill a cat during a fight. Battles usually last a few seconds, with the less-determined party scurrying away.


Illness

However, it does not matter who the victor is. As long there was a fight, it means that both parties received a couple of bites and scratches. This is where the real danger is; raccoons carry all kinds of parasites and diseases, including rabies.

Therefore, even if your kitty did not die during the fight, they can contract a nasty infection or disease from the raccoon. And without immediate vet care, your cat might succumb to the disease or infection.

When it comes to the subject of raccoons eating cats, it is highly unlikely. As mentioned, raccoons do not see cats as prey. However, you cannot put it past a raccoon to attack and eat kittens. They are opportunistic predators.

Fortunately, most cats seem to understand the danger a raccoon poses. As such, they tend to tolerate the bandits. On the raccoon’s part, as long as a cat does not bother them, they are highly unlikely to attack it. Raccoons simply want to scavenge, and then leave.

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Conclusion

The only time a raccoon can attack a cat is when the cat insists on confronting it. Nonetheless, it will attack and kill kittens.

The best way of avoiding potential altercations between your cats and raccoons is by making your compound as unattractive to raccoons as possible. How do you do that? Simply by letting raccoons know that there is no food to scavenge in your yard. This means not leaving pet food outside, in addition to investing in raccoon-proof trash cans.

If possible, do not allow your kitty to sleep outside at night.

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Featured Image Credit: Corina Muresan, Shutterstock