Owls are majestic and intelligent animals that have a fascinating effect on many people. However, they are also predators that feed on meat.
When thinking of owls’ prey, most of us think of smaller animals like mice and martens. But the food spectrum of large birds includes much more.
So can they also be dangerous to cats and consider them food? We’ll get to the bottom of this question for you here.
In this post, you’ll learn if owls can be a danger to cats and how to keep your pet safe. If there is a fight and injuries, we will also show you the correct behavior in the treatment.
Are owls dangerous for cats?
Yes, the birds of prey can pose a danger to outdoor cats.
This is especially – but not only – true for kittens, very small and already weakened pets. Dog puppies and small dog breeds are equally not exempt.
So even though you may have seen some heartwarming videos on the Internet of owls and cats lying side by side in harmony or even playing together:
In the wild, direct contact only occurs for the purpose of attack.
This, in turn, can have several causes.
Cause 1: Competition for prey
Both cats and owls may be hunting for prey at dusk, night, and dawn, and have a similar pattern in terms of stalking and their prey.
If an owl now observes a cat in front of it snatching a mouse, it may try to take it from it.
Two dangers arise from this.
Cats usually do not simply give up the hunted prey, drop it and take flight. So there can be a fight between the owl and the cat.
The owl may change its mind during the chase and seize the cat as prey instead of the targeted mouse. If the cat is light and small enough compared to the owl, the raptor can fly away with it or kill and eat it right at the scene of the fight.
Even then, if death does not occur, you must expect significant injuries to your velvet paw. These are not always immediately apparent due to the owls’ sharp talons and pointed, powerful beak.
However, they can become severely infected and lead to threatening infections.
Cause 2: Lack of prey
When owls do not find enough food, they expand their hunting range. Residential areas with numerous free-roaming cats are productive hunting grounds.
Depending on the particular owl species and its size, they usually prefer smaller cats or animals that are weak and therefore not particularly defensible, as well as easily carried away.
So just when owls have to take care of young animals, small pets are in danger. There is also another factor responsible for this.
Cause 3: Cats as a danger
Owls can also perceive cats as a danger when they approach their nest and there are eggs or young birds in it.
The birds of prey will then go on the attack to protect their offspring. Cats can be seriously injured in the process and also fall from great heights.
Prevent attacks by owls
Your indoor-only cat is not exposed to danger from owls. So keeping it indoors is the safest way to prevent injury and death to your pet. This doesn’t just apply to birds of prey.
Does your cat only have outdoor access during the day, staying in its own yard and back inside before dusk? Even then the risk is low.
If owls nest in the vicinity or even in your garden, the adult birds also pose a risk during the day. However, you can fence off the areas in question so that your cats do not reach the nest.
However, with free-rangers in an unsecured garden, you can never be completely sure that they won’t find their way over the fence or use a hole in it as an exit to stray.
Especially in areas with a high number of birds of prey or other animals that can become a danger, you should prefer to keep them indoors only.
Alternatively, you can cat-proof the balcony or garden. This will allow your feline to get fresh air or take sunbaths without being exposed to a threat.
Treat your cat after an owl attack
If your cat barely escaped an owl attack or was injured in a fight, quick action is needed.
Wounds created by beaks and claws are often not immediately apparent to their full extent.
In addition, your cat may have initially hidden after the scare, giving the injuries time to become infected. Severe infections are a potential and risky consequence.
Therefore, see a veterinarian immediately and have treatment started. This includes extensive cleaning and care of the wounds, as well as antibiotic therapy if necessary.
Large or deep injuries may additionally require stitching or stapling.
Further, keep in mind that your cat may be traumatized, jumpy and aggressive after such an attack.
Therefore, keep her indoors at least until the wounds heal completely, and in the future, refrain from letting her outside after dark.
This is because even if there is not another attack by an owl, the cat may become frightened of the birds of prey in the future and, for example, run in front of a car out of panic or otherwise put itself in danger.
Owls as a danger for small and weak cats
Although even a large, stately and heavy tomcat can be attacked by an owl, the more frequent victims are nevertheless very young and small cats.
The extent of the danger to cats also depends on the distribution of owls.
A fist-sized pygmy owl poses no risk to your pets. An eagle owl up to 71 inches tall, on the other hand, can be life-threatening to cats.
To ensure their safety, you should not allow them to roam free at night.
However, since this is difficult to do with cats, especially in areas with a high population of birds of prey, keeping them indoors only is a real protection.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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