St. Albert, AB – For several years now, St. Albert RCMP have periodically received reports of cats found dead and cut open. In 2015 and again in 2016, St. Albert RCMP sent two different cat remains for a necropsy at the University of Alberta by the Chief Veterinarian. A necropsy is a postmortem exam or autopsy on an animal or non-human body. These cats appeared to be cleanly cut open as if by a knife. In both cases, the necropsy showed that cats were killed by coyotes and not be any person.
Coyotes will hunt cats, especially when they are training their pups how to hunt. They will leave the cat looking like it was “cut open” as a way to interest their pups in eating prey. According to the internet, “coyotes usually eat wild species, but they are known to eat pet food, garbage, garden crops, livestock, poultry, rodents, rabbits and pets including small dogs and mostly cats”.
This is a peak time for coyote hunting as it takes both coyote parents hunting full time to feed a litter of pups. St. Albert RCMP are recommending that pet owners take precautions with their pets during this prime hunting time. The internet recommends that pet owners “Keep dogs and cats indoors, especially from dusk to dawn. If left outside at night in an unprotected area, cats and small to mid-size dogs may be killed by coyotes.”
Coyotes though, are a positive part of the ecosystem, and are very effective in keeping the rodent population in check. It is important to learn how to share our neighbourhoods with coyotes while discouraging them from negatively impacting our backyards. Garbage, meat scraps, pet food left outside, rotting fruit under trees and even suet or birdseed that increase the number of birds in your yards attract coyotes. It is important to keep your property cleaned of these attractants and to keep your landscaping trimmed. Coyotes are attracted to bush and treed areas as they provide cover for them while hunting.
“With an active coyote population in the city and surrounding areas, the RCMP recommends that residents protect small pets particularly if they are in or near city green spaces. Keeping them indoors during this peak coyote hunting and pup training time is something that pet owners may have to consider.”, says Cpl. Laurel Kading with the St. Albert RCMP.