Are Cats Afraid Of Owls? Everything You Need to Know

Are cats afraid of owls? Yes, Cats are afraid of owl attacks, this is why most people use fake owls to scare away feral cats from their gardens. Owls are airborne, and they will attack prey 4 times their size, giving them more advantage over your pet.  This is why you should tick every possible safety box, and ensure your domestic cat doesn’t die in one of the most horrible ways possible—falling to death from a very high altitude.

Here is a video of a cat running off from just a stare from an owl:

Things could get pretty messy when it involves a large owl. I once had a pet skunk who had undergone the descenting process( removal of its scent gland that emits odor when it needs to defend itself).

One faithful evening, I was in my garden just by the side of the house, I received a phone call, while I was pacing around and laughing, I turned my head to one of the most annoying sights—a great horned owl zooming off with my pet skunk. This made me angry(as I couldn’t defend Freddy) so, I got curious, and I did my research.

Currently, I have a ragdoll cat, and I have taken every single precaution that I can, and I know other cat owners would have experienced such tragedy or maybe, seen a funny reaction from their cat—when it sees a live owl or a fake owl. This post is crafted to enlighten you on everything you need to know about cats and owls, who is the prey? And every measure you need to take.

Do owls eat cats?

Owls make easy prey on fish, rodents, small birds, and other small pets. Generally, cats are rarely attacked by an owl, but birds of prey could face a shortage in available prey—your cat may be unfortunate to go after a rat that is being targeted by the owl, and this will eventually lead to the owl attacking your cat.

An owl will eat a cat, especially if your cat finds itself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Owls are opportunists, they will eat whatever is available on the menu—so far they could lift or grab it. Cats, on the other hand, love to explore, they may soon find themselves trying to eat eggs from an owl’s nest or even killing any owlet found in the nest. If caught, you know what this can mean for your cat right?

Just like your domestic cat would have horned skills of stalking and attacking, the bad news is that; owls also stalk and attack with more efficiency. Stories have emerged on great horned owls being able to lift a Maine coon. Here is also a story with a live picture of a barred owl lifting a full-grown house cat.

Can owls pick up cats?

According to the documentation of the great horned owls, the great horned owl weighs 3lbs(1.5kg) with a length of 2ft. A great horned owl can lift not only small pets but it can carry preys who have a lot of weight more than itself. An owl can carry 8 – 9lb prey.

Cat breeds like Singapore, Munchkin, Cornish Rex, American curl, Devon Rex, Japanese bobtail, Siamese, and Burmese could be lifted and carried easily by The big owl’s species such as the Great horned owl, barred owls, and the eagle owl. Do what is required of you in terms of protecting your cat since you can’t separate your cat from owls once they are airborne.

How do owls kill cats?

In killing a cat, the owl makes use of its talons( the owl’s talons are very strong. Its feet’ bone structure is shorter and stronger when compared with other birds—this makes it easier to withstand impact from lifting and carrying struggling prey).

When lifting the cat, its talon usually delivers the death blow or it may airlift and drop the cat from a distance that could kill the cat. The owl is always at an advantage in flight, and it could sneak up silently on the cat.

When it comes to altercations between cats and owls, the winner is not always definite, though the latter always has more advantages. Cats can get very aggressive—defending themselves with their sharp claws and teeth, but this may not always be the case.

Here is a video of an injured owl who is still able to intimidate a cat:

How to protect cats from owls

In keeping your cat safe from owls, there are safety measures you need to take. You may not be so lucky to protect an outdoor cat, since they roam and return at will. We have put together a list of things you can do to ensure your pet’s safety.

1. Keep your cat indoors at night

Both cats and owls are nocturnal creatures, they excel pretty well in the dark. Letting your cat move or stay outdoor at night will not only increase the possibility of an attack from a wide animal, but it could also lead to your feline friend—going after an owlet( which could result in a fight between the owl and cat. The owl is usually on a higher ground which means; they will have time to plan and carry out an attack on your pet.

2. Get bright lights

Bright lights are known to keep owls away—fixing bright lights in your yard can help protect fluffy. However, you should note that; cats will wander into the dark, making a fool out of the bright light. If you notice the presence of owls in your neighborhood, it is best to hide your cat inside the house.

3. Trim dead branches from your trees

Dead branches provide perching, nesting, and relaxing spots for birds of prey, consider trimming them off. Since cats naturally want to experience sound and sight and also get stimulation from every natural happening in the world, they tend to always want to be outside and breathe fresh air, this is why you should consider fixing a catio for your feline friend.

Ensure to remove any bird’s nest from the trees in your garden—after the babies of the bird of prey have left. Keep your cat indoors while you wait— as removing a nest that contains the eggs or nestlings of an owl violates both state and federal laws.

4. Avoid feeders

I understand you may have some deep love for birds, and you fix feeders for birds like doves, quail, and other birds to eat on the ground. Be rest assured that these birds will attract birds of prey who may go after these birds. They would mark your house as a place where they find and feed on birds, making it unsafe for your cat.

5. Feed your pet indoors

Your cat is likely to be engulfed in the food you served it, making it less aware of its environment; this could open your unsuspecting cat to an attack from an owl. Also, meals that we’re not consumed by your cat will attract rodents and raccoons—which will attract an owl.

Are cats afraid of fake owls?

Yes, your cat may get scared of the fake owl the first time it gets to see the owl, and a few other times, but the fear will eventually fade away that same day or week. The fake owl mimics a live owl, they just stand in a static position, starting at your cat, this will startle your cat, and send chills down its spine, especially if it has had a bad experience with an owl.

Dangers to Be Aware of When Letting Cats Outside

When letting your cat outside, there are a whole lot of things to consider, from a cat running away to a cat getting into a fight with other cats who are either in search of a mate or just roaming the streets, getting killed by a wild animal or worse, killed by a vehicle.

This is why many people have resulted to keeping their feline friends indoors ever since the litter box was invented in the 1940s. It’s your priority to keep your pet safe, and it’s best to keep them indoors, except for the need to engage in some walks or fun exercise—this will ensure they don’t encounter harm. Here are the 3 dangers of letting your cats outside.

Attacks, disease, and unwanted kittens with feral cats

Letting your cat roam freely opens them up to a whole lot of dangers. There are two basic interactions with your house cat and other animals: friendly, and aggressive. When the interaction is friendly, your feline friend will end up mating with other cats—increasing the number of feral cats or bringing back home unwanted pregnancies.

Cats that have not been neutered or spayed are likely to get into a fight with others for territory disputes or mate disputes. This altercation will lead to lacerations to your cat’s face or body.

Friendly and unfriendly interactions will open your cat to diseases like feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus. Also, your pet will be exposed to pest infestation such as fleas, ticks, roundworms, and hookworms.

Asides from the disease and pest infestations, your domestic cat faces the risk of being caught and killed by larger cat preys or preys with high-ground advantages like owls.

Possible accidents or permanently running away

There is a high risk of your feline friend being hit by a vehicle of who’s driver might be having a bad day or not paying attention at all. These accidents could lead to broken bones, minor injuries, or death. Make sure never to treat your cat if any such unfortunate circumstance occurs.

Most times fluffy run away permanently, it’s either it is new, and you failed to confine it to a room for the first few weeks or they have been adopted by other persons who may have thought your cat doesn’t have an owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do barred owls eat cats

Barred owls are a north American large species of owls. They don't make cats the primary source of meals, however, if its regular prey is missing, it could make easy prey of your domestic cat.

Will an Owl Go After a House Cat?

Yes, an owl will go after a house cat and kill them, not because it hates cats, but owls are just opportunistic feeders, and they will eat whatever is available on the menu. If you live in a rural area or areas where owls are found, take precautionary measures to ensure your house cat doesn't make it to the menu. Does it mean your cat can't fight back? Yes and no. In some cases, your cat may be lucky enough to see the owl approaching, in most other cases, the owl will take your cat unawares.

What kind of owls eat cats

The big owl species such as the great horned owl, the barred owl, and the eagle owl can eat cats.

Are cats afraid of owls? Final thoughts:

We have seen videos of cats defending themselves against coyotes and foxes, but it could get more difficult when it comes to an owl because there will be no time to prepare for a standoff. But either way, your cat will try its best, but it will prefer not to encounter the owl. If you leave in areas where there are birds of prey, ensure you protect your cat by following the little guide above.

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