At least three cats have been killed in the past couple of weeks, most likely by a coyote, in the Northbrae neighborhood of Berkeley. Footage of one the attacks was caught on a resident’s video surveillance camera.
Residents who have lost cats are understandably upset, and those whose cats roam around outside at night are concerned for their safety.
Berkeley Animal Care Services told Berkeleyside it had picked up several dead cats in the last four months that have been attacked by coyotes. They worked to confirm that information with the Lindsay Wildlife Experience. (Scroll to the bottom to read an update with comments from an expert at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience.)
Barbara Maricle, who lives on Sonoma Avenue, said a neighbor had found coyote scat in their backyard.
The first dead cat Maricle was aware of was found in a driveway near Madera Street where it runs into Tulare Avenue. The second cat to be killed, as far as she is aware, was called Charlie and lived in the area of Colusa and Marin avenues. According to Jennifer Joy, who helped disseminate the news locally as a warning to cat owners, Charlie was attacked and dismembered by a coyote on the morning of Aug. 29, and the incident was caught on video. She said its owner, an elderly widower, was devastated by the death.
Maricle said she thinks she heard the attack of the third cat to be killed in the area. “It was Labor Day morning at 5 a.m.,” she said. ” I thought it was two cats fighting. In morning, when I was taking my dog for walk, there was fur and intestines on the sidewalk next door. Other remains were at the bus stop at Colusa and Monterey.”
After the news was posted onto a local NextDoor board, the owner of the cat was alerted and went to retrieve the remains, Maricle said. By that time, someone had put them in a garbage bag next to the bus stop.
When a local resident called Berkeley Animal Control their advice was to round up animals at night, Maricle said.
“As advocates for pets, we’d certainly encourage people to keep their cats inside at night,” Amelia Funghi, the manager of BACS, said to Berkeleyside.
BACS does respond to sick and injured wildlife. Anything pertaining to healthy wildlife falls under the jurisdiction of California Fish and Wildlife.
Meanwhile a sign has been posted on a tree in the neighborhood. It advises cat owners to keep their pets inside at night, and warns: “Coyotes are able to easily jump 7-foot fences.”
Update, Sept. 13: Guthrum Purdin, Director of Veterinary Services at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, said he hears about coyotes attacking cats in urban areas fairly regularly. The wild animals are attracted by the “easy meal” a cat represents, he said, as well as by food left outside homes. “Coyotes are very smart and not very big and very elusive,” Purdin said. “Many people don’t recognize them because they look like dogs.” Purdin said coyotes move around in family packs, often two or three at a time, and that once one works out there are cats roaming an area at night, he or she alerts the others in the group about the “easy prey source,” and they start predating on cats. The coyotes find a safe haven during the daytime. Purdin advised residents to keep cats indoors at night for several reasons, including the danger presented by coyotes: “Cars are dangerous to free-roaming cats, as are rodent baits — cats can eat poisoned rats,” he said.
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