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First Loss of a Cat to Wild Animal


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Cats have always been a part of my life and they have always been indoor-outdoor cats, going and coming as they please. I grew up in the-middle-of-no-where New Hampshire and, having raised chickens, I was used to experiencing run-ins with wild predators, including minks, foxes, bobcats, hawks, and coyotes. Considering my experience with wildlife, my cats too were no strangers to the dangers of the outdoors. My current cats have been with my family for 11 years and have spent nearly the entirety of that time free to go outside. All of these cats came to be part of our family when my mom bought a box of cats and kittens that had been living underneath trailers. While we ended up with many cats, the three that we didn't have re-homed were Nino (originally Nina because we were told it was a pregnant cat, only to discover otherwise), Nook (named because he was very shy and would hide in every "nook and cranny" he could find), and Lucy (Lucy was not from the trailers, but from a neighbor's barn, and was given that name prior to becoming our cat). While all three were independent cats, I have become accustomed to their presence in my life and looked froward to the daily interactions we would have with each other. 

Right before I went off to college in 2018, my sister convinced my mom to get a dog. And so get a dog we did. Melanie (Mel for short) is an adorable 40 lb husky-lab mix who loves to smile at people (literally) and tear toys apart. She and the cats thankfully developed a tolerance for each other, with Mel wanting everything to do with the cats, and the cats wanting little to do with her, except a few nuzzles. She, like the cats, desired a slice of independence, and refused to ever notify us when she needed to use the restroom. The compromise was to provide her a 24/7 accessible doggy(/kitty) door with a fenced in backyard. She loves running around the yard during the day. 

A few months ago, my mom and her boyfriend made the decision to quit their jobs in NH after finding new ones in Massachusetts. Thus, the NH house was left for a new home within reasonable driving distance of Boston. The first months at the new home were fine. After taking our first family vacation since the move, however, we had the cops called on our house a couple times because one neighbor was complaining about our dog barking the previous night. Since only a week had passed since the barking incident, I was quick to react to Mel barking last night. When I went out and called her inside, she came onto the porch with her fur standing up. She was pacing, trying to run back down before I called to her again. She ran past me inside to stand on the couch in front of the living room windows, facing our front yard, and as I moved to follow her, I heard a cat shrieking; Mel was whimpering, crying while looking out the windows. I ran to the front door and flipped all the light switches trying to turn the outside lights on without success. When I went to open the front door, my dog came and attempted to follow, so I stopped to push her back in as she fought to get by. By the time I was out the door, the noises had stopped. When I looked out, 15 feet in front of me was a coyote holding a limp body in its mouth. I was scared at first because it was larger than my dog, but in that moment all the pieces fit together. I ran at it, but it fled. I pursued until it had crossed into a neighbors yard and put considerable distance between us. I knew it was too late. I didn't know how to process what had happened. I informed my mom, who was awakened by the sounds, before going out again to look for signs of the coyote. After that failed, I looked for blood or fur at the site of the attack. Nothing. I waited up throughout the night, checking which cats came inside, hoping all three would. Nino returned, and then an hour later so did Lucy. Nook never did. Part of me still hopes he will appear one morning or evening, meowing for me to give him treats, or follow me into my bedroom demanding to be pet. 

I feel hopeless and defeated. I was separated by only the wall of the house and a door when he was dying. If I had been faster, I could've confronted the coyote. I could've turned the coyotes attention to myself. If only I had started yelling. If only my dog hadn't been fighting to get out the door. Maybe I should've just let her out. It hurts so bad knowing I was seconds from being the difference between my baby boy Nook's life and death. Even if he was already injured, I could've rushed him to emergency care. It hurts so much knowing that the limp form in the coyote's mouth was my sweet, furry little friend. It hurts even more knowing what a social little kitty he had become in the last few months; he used to not let me touch him, and now he was our most vocal and attention demanding cat! And still digging even deeper in my thoughts is the fact that I hadn't paid him much attention the day he died because I was too busy packing to move my belongings into my dorm. I gave him only one round of treats and a couple pats the day he died, and now the last time I got to hear him was him screaming as he was attacked. And the last thing I saw was his dead body, being carried away to be ripped apart.

The sadness has been coming in waves, triggered by the presence of my other cats, by my own room, by being in the kitchen. Sometimes I think I see him, but it's just silly things like a paper bag or a couple of shoes. Sometimes I think I hear him meow. My mom is trying very hard to be hopeful. But having seen what I saw, having heard what I heard, I am full of doubt and despair. Crying is turning my eyes swollen and I am starting to lose my appetite. I feel exhausted always. And night times are the worst. The night of the attack I dreamed he returned with the other cats; waking up I was afraid to get out of bed and see that my dream had been just that-- a dream. I'm am trying to have hope, but his absence today is a glaring reality. 

I apologize for this post ending up so long. Writing down my experience and my feelings is helping me conceptualize and accept the situation. 

SIDE NOTE: because of this incident, my mom and I are trying to keep our cats and dog in at night. I am absolutely terrified this will happen to another one of my pets, especially the cats. Despite their many, many years in the wild NH outdoors, it is evident urban coyotes are dangerous. 


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I am so sorry.  To hear and see that, it is very hard.  Your little Nook reminds me of my Autumn who died years ago, she was a small cat, lived to 14 and lived outdoors (her choice) her last 12 years.  I lost my Miss Mocha June 3, 2016 in broad daylight, I believe to a cougar.  They are very quiet and stealth, they take their victim from behind the neck, sending them into shock, which hopefully, thankfully, protects them while the inevitable happens.  I never let her out at night, but at 6 am she wanted outside, so I let her out and I worked outside all day, never hearing anything...she never reappeared.  I put up flyers, talked to neighbors, but no one heard/saw anything.  Last August I lost Arlie, my sweet dog, to cancer and put him to sleep.  4 1/2 months later I lost 25 yer old Kitty, her kidneys and liver had shut down so I had to have her put to sleep.  Now my family of four was just me and the puppy my son brought me before Christmas.

I live in the mountains, in the country, where wild animals do exist.  I am very protective of my little Kodie, he's all I have now.

I do know it's the hardest thing in the world to lose our furbabies. 


I hope you will be able to keep in mind you gave Nook the best life you could and he was happy with you.  This was but one day and is not a summation of his typical days.  I hope this video will bring you comfort and peace.


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So sorry to hear of your loss and to have seen it is awful. My dear, dear Chihuahua named Chicken (by the rescue people probably because she was actually fearless), was murdered by a coyote two nights ago. I was sitting in the backyard talking with my sister and Chicken was at the side yard barking at the gate. By the time I got there all I heard was a yelp and intense screaming disappearing down the street. Before I even got the gate open, the sound had stopped and I saw no sign of anything. At first I was shocked because I didn't understand how Chicken had gotten out of the yard, then I realized that a very fast coyote jumped the fenced, grabbed her and jumped the fence again, quietly running off with her. I was almost immobile as to what to do next and my mouth just dried up with stress and fear. We drove around looking for the coyote and Chicken, but it was so, so dark and quiet. We found nothing.

The next morning we went walking with our other dog to try to sniff things out...to no avail. I have been numb and not knowing what to do. My mind is so clouded with shock and grief. I looked for sites that dealt with coyote grabbings and found this site. The very sad thing is that I never had a chance to say goodbye, never see her again. But I'm trying to look at the positive in that, according to articles I've read, coyote killings (especially with small animals) is swift with the animal experiencing shock and then suffocation. I'm fairly certain that Chicken died quickly because her screams stopped quickly. I  also believe that this was all part of God's plan. I always say that the harder it is, the better it will be. Well, this has been pretty hard.

Chicken was only 6 pounds, and would have been 2 years old in December 2020 (this is August 2020). I've had her for only a year, but what a blessing she was. She was a fawn-colored skinny little girl full of love, life and laughter. Always happy.

I've lost my appetite completely. This is something the articles said may happen. I'm trying to get re-focused and know that the passing of time will help.

God Bless all of us who have lost a very dear pet. Chicken was my lovee. She made me laugh, smile and feel love. I miss her so much. May we all heal and with the help of support groups and friends, get past the hurt and any guilt we may feel. Thank you for this forum.

Spec in Arizona

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@Spec  I am so sorry that you too are experiencing this.  I lost my Miss Mocha to a cougar four years ago and Chappy also, years before, it's horrible to go through this and not even be able to give them a proper burial, I'm still sick about it.  Grief over a cherished furry family member is one of the hardest losses of all.  Sending you thoughts for comfort and peace.
I hope you've watched the above video as well as the article.  (((hugs)))

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