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Home > Cats > What Animals Attack Cats? 11 Predators to Watch For

What Animals Attack Cats? 11 Predators to Watch For

a rugged feral cat ready to attack

If you have a cat that you allow to come and go from your home as it pleases, you are probably aware of several dangers that can present themselves. Traffic is a major concern as are people who might want to steal your cat, especially if it is a rare or popular breed. However, cats are pretty intelligent and tend to run from strangers, so the biggest threat comes from other predators.

Keep reading while we take a look at several predators that could cause harm to your pet. We’ll show you what they look like and tell you a little about them so you are informed before you let your pet outdoors.


The 11 Most Common Animals That Attack Cats

1. Birds of Prey

Harris Hawk
Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

It may seem ironic for a bird to attack a cat, but there are several areas in the United States where a hawk, eagle, or owl can grow large enough to present a danger to your pet, especially if it’s still a kitten or is a small breed. To make matters worse, you are likely to see the eagle or hawk during the day, while the owl comes out at night, so there’s no safe time to let your cat out if you live in an area where these birds reside.

2. Cougars

Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay

The cougar is a major threat to any cat that lives in the western United States and Florida. It usually goes after larger prey like chickens and sheep, but it will attack a cat if it’s an easy target. Wildlife officials recommend calling the authorities if you see one because it tends to find a perch and stalk its prey much like your housecat might. It can stay by your home for several days, attacking multiple targets.

3. Coyotes

coyote in the wild
Image Credit: rauschenberger, Pixabay

You can find coyotes all over the United States. It’s one of the most dangerous predators of both our cats and our dogs. It’s nocturnal, so the best defense is to keep them indoors at night. It’s unlikely that you will see one in a city, but you might see one on the edge of town in a park or cemetery. They are a bigger problem in rural areas with plenty of trees they can use for cover. Keeping your garbage can closed tightly can help steer them away from your home.

4. Groundhogs

Image Credit: Stefaan, Pixabay

Groundhogs are usually peaceful animals that live in clearings near the woods in the northeastern part of the United States. They tend to burrow into the ground, and if a cat attacks them, they will use their sharp claws and teeth to defend themselves. Beware: this critter is capable of inflicting considerable damage on your cat.

5. Porcupines

Image Credit: Stevebidmead, Pixabay

You can find a porcupine anywhere in the United States though they usually do a good job of hiding, and many people may never see one. It’s not aggressive, but your cat can attack it and get a face full of quills. These quills can cause a lot of damage to your cat’s face and internal organs, and it will take your vet several hours to remove them.

6. Raccoons

raccoon featured_edbo23, Pixabay
Image Credit: edbo23, Pixabay

Raccoons are another animal that you can find almost anywhere in the United States. While they are not typically aggressive, they can put up a deadly fight if your cat attempts to get territorial. Raccoons have strong, sharp claws and teeth, and they often carry disease. This means that even if the cat survives the fight, it might have rabies.

7. Rats

two rats_LankaP, Shutterstock
Image Credit: LankaP, Shutterstock

While there are many cat breeds created specifically to hunt rats, there is always a danger that doing so can lead to a bite that winds up being fatal to the cat. Rats can carry diseases, and they can also transfer fleas to your pet.

8. Scorpions

stripe-tailed scorpion at night
Image Credit: Ryan M. Bolton, Shutterstock

Scorpions are a real threat in the southwestern part of the United States, and they’re not only dangerous for your cat, but also harmful to you. However, it’s worse for cats because your pet will stalk these small creatures until they get stung. You will need to immediately take your cat to the vet if you notice it limping or looking unhealthy.

9. Skunks

skunk ourdoors
Image Credit: sipa, Pixabay

While skunks are certainly not predators, they can spray your cat, which can harm its eyes. Once sprayed, your cat will run home and can spread the smell around your house. You will need to quickly contain your cat and towel it off to remove as much spray as you can before bathing it. Skunks also have sharp claws, and they can carry rabies.

10. Snakes

Fire Ball Python Snake_Ery Azmeer_shutterstock
Image Credit: Ery Azmeer, Shutterstock

There are 21 species of poisonous snakes in North America, including the copperhead, rattlesnake, and cottonmouth. These snakes bite 7,000–8,000 people per year, according to the CDC. Cats naturally pounce on things that move as a snake does, and while there is a good chance the cat will kill the snake, it can easily go the other way.

11. Squirrels

a squirrel
Image By: 12019, Pixabay

Squirrels present a real threat to your cat because cats love to chase them. Squirrels often carry ringworm and other diseases that they can spread easily with their sharp claws and teeth. While the cat will likely walk away from the fight the winner, it may develop serious health issues.



Some of the animals are specific to certain areas of the United States, but you can find several of them anywhere. If you intend to let your cat outside, you’ll need to keep a close eye on them and try to get your pet into a routine that causes them to come home frequently, so you will know sooner if there is a problem.

Squirrels and snakes are especially common, and if your cat goes outside at night, they will encounter a raccoon, porcupine, or skunk eventually. It’s also important to remember that the common house cat is one of the deadliest animals on the planet, which is what gets it in trouble with many of these animals. Your cat can cause a lot of damage to the local wildlife, so that’s important to consider that, too.

We hope you have enjoyed reading and found some helpful information to help keep your pet safe. If you know someone with a cat, please share this guide to what animals attack cats on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

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