Cats and urban foxes

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annavc | 13:23 Tue 07th Feb 2006 | Animals & Nature
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My cat is an indoor cat because he's scared of the outdoors (he starts shaking and mioawing frantically if you open the back door when he's near it). I got him from a rescue centre a few months ago and he came into them as a stray. I've always wondered why he was scared of the outdoors but I now wonder if it has something to do with urban foxes.

The other night the local fox population (which appears to be thriving) was making the most awful noise, it's mating season and the noise consists of bloodcurdling screams - you have to hear it to believe it. Anyway, my cat was looking out of the window when this noise started and he suddenly took a flying leap on to my bed and came right up to my head, wimpering and shaking. He seemed really scared. He then spent the rest of the night curled up on the pillow next to my head.

Do you think it's possible that he had some encounter with foxes when he was a stray and that that is why he is now scared of going outside? Other cats in the area seem to roam around without coming to any harm but do cats and foxes ever come to blows or do they tend to lead seperate lives?



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Its possible, but I doubt it, a fox would attack an injured cat, but its very rare, obviously its vitually had its life vitually scared out of it by something in the great outdoors, quite possibly another cat or cats, problem being, its an ex stray, so who knows what really happened, just love it and treat it kindly, and it'll repay you with like.
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I thought it was probably unlikely Lonnie but he was so scared at the noise it just made me wonder. I do love him very much and he definitely repays me - spending hours curled up on my shoulder purring like a traction engine!
As a thought, just the bit about the noise made me think of it, it may be something to do with fireworks, if ones been tied to his tail eg, nasty, I know, but that certainly would make him that scared.

I once asked something similar to my vet and was told that generally cats are too big for a fox to bother. My cat isn't bothered by the foxes who have a den at the back of our garden, in fact, we've seen our cat head into the den! If you have good pet insurance, talk to your vets about seeing a behaviourist. It may be possible to de-sensitize your cat to fox noises. There are also certain things you can do to help your cat feel more confident within the home.

Good luck

It's certainly possible your cat had a terrifying encounter with another animal, but it might well have been a dog, rather than a fox. Most foxes (at least around here) give cats a wide berth, and the only close noctural encounter I've seen between a fox and a cat ended up with the fox fleeing for its life with a very angry cat chasing it. in fact, we do put food out for our visiting foxes, and we've found that a fox will not attempt to take the food if the cat is there first. Foxes during mating time certainly make a terrifying noise and it may just have been the noise which upset your cat. If he came from a rescue centre, was it a combined centre housing both stray cats and dogs? If so, he probably had prolonged exposure to distressed barking dogs, and that too could be a trigger for his current behaviour.
some old neighbours of mine used to keep their cat outside during the day while they were at work and didn't have a cat flap, one day there is a terrible noise from the garden and i look out to see their cat hurtling towards their door closely followed by about 3 foxes, well they cornered him there and just started attacking really viscously, while he fought one another would try and bite his back legs etc � I shouted from the window to no effect and had to go outside � I was actually quite scared as these things looked horrible all teeth bared and snarling. Horrible critters � it was summer by this point and their den was very close to the end of our garden so maybe thought they were protecting their young or something� but just to clarify fox DO attack cats and I think they would have killed this one in then end (and he was the dominant tom of the neighbourhood), though this is the only time I have ever seen urban foxes as anything but timid little things � still a bit wary of them though so if it put the shakes on me I be it can affect a cat beyond belief...

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Thanks for your answers everyone. Guess without him learning to talk and being able to tell me himself I'll never know exactly why he's scared of the outdoors and why he seemed so scared of that noise!

He's a healthy, happy and content cat 99.9% of the time though so I suppose it doesn't really matter.


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Cats and urban foxes

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