Will eagles or hawks attack housecats?

B

BarryC

Guest
I've been curious about this ever since an incident happened early last spring or summer. I was outside with Norton (my cat who had to be put to sleep July 4th) one day, and an eagle or hawk flew overhead. I didn't see him, but I heard the call, or cry. I knew it had to be an eagle or hawk. Anyway, when that bird called, Norton took off like a shot. I had never seen him move so fast in my life. He was like a bullet being shot out of a gun.
So, do eagles or hawks ever go after housecats? I kind of doubt they would go after him specifically, because he was such a big cat. There are pictures of him in my album somewhere on page 10 or later.
Barry
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
7,445
1,524
1,093
55
millville nj
www.youtube.com
Barry,
An educated guess I"d say a cat would have more to fear from large hawks then small hawks or eagles.Bald eagles eat mostly fish,carrion and bully smaller birds out of their meals.hawks and golden eagles prefer their meat red and warm.small hawks such as kestrels andpergrines and such I believe are too small to mess with cats.Bald eagles are basically lazy fish eaters on the other hand a red tail or red shouldered hawk or golden eagle (rare in the eastern US) could and would take a cat I believe if the circumstances were right.Lets face it rats and rabbits are easier prey,cats are more armed and dangerous being excellent predators themselves.Cats are definitely more aware of danger at greater distances then rats and are faster runners then both rabbits and rats though a rabbits zig zags may make it appear otherwise plus cats tend to go vertical up trees which could lead to injury of a fast diving hawk.I"d say severe hunger a sleeping cat preferably a small one and a bold hawk and I"d say yes this could be a lethal combination.Not an expert opinion but an educated guess.What say you?
Al
 
B

BarryC

Guest
Thanks Al,
You make a lot of good points. I agree with you. And Norton was a very large cat. He also could be dangerous to the wrong person. His teeth and claws were lethal. So I'm sure he had nothing to worry about, but boy did he run!
manumuskin said:
Barry,
An educated guess I"d say a cat would have more to fear from large hawks then small hawks or eagles.Bald eagles eat mostly fish,carrion and bully smaller birds out of their meals.hawks and golden eagles prefer their meat red and warm.small hawks such as kestrels andpergrines and such I believe are too small to mess with cats.Bald eagles are basically lazy fish eaters on the other hand a red tail or red shouldered hawk or golden eagle (rare in the eastern US) could and would take a cat I believe if the circumstances were right.Lets face it rats and rabbits are easier prey,cats are more armed and dangerous being excellent predators themselves.Cats are definitely more aware of danger at greater distances then rats and are faster runners then both rabbits and rats though a rabbits zig zags may make it appear otherwise plus cats tend to go vertical up trees which could lead to injury of a fast diving hawk.I"d say severe hunger a sleeping cat preferably a small one and a bold hawk and I"d say yes this could be a lethal combination.Not an expert opinion but an educated guess.What say you?
Al
 

foofoo

Explorer
Sep 14, 2003
184
0
16
i was in maine last year and a small dog got picked up and dropped by an eagle. i would say a cat would also be on the menu. when i was down in the florida keys the local boat guide told how the eagles just kill anything and that they are just a nasty bird. i got the feeling there not as loved as they are protected in that part of the marble. i did see one over near fort dix by hanover lake. it swooped down in front of my vehicle. what a site! :cry:
 
B

BarryC

Guest
If you had read my original question, you would have read that my cat is no longer with us. Besides, he was an outdoor cat all his life (14 years +). There's no way we would have ever kept him indoors overnight. He was never trained that way.
Also, those birds and small mammals have no problem reproducing. I don't think he would have contributed to the extinction of chipmunks in South Jersey.
Anyway, in my original question I was only wondering if a hawk or eagle was capable of carrying away a 13 or 14 pound cat. I could see maybe a Chihuahua or other type of small dog, but not my Norton.
ocprnaturalist said:
Almost never happens. To be sure you should keep your cat inside. It is causing untold environmental damage to birds and small mammals.
 
B

bach2yoga

Guest
Barry,
Outdoor cats are a real problem to birds, especially long distance neotropical migrating birds--there are app 30 species of them in the Pines, different warblers, tanagers, ovenbirds, etc., many on the decline, not only because of loss of rainforest habitat, but also because of loss of habitat here in their breeding grounds-the Pines, and exposure to cats and cowbirds and chipmunks.
I love cats. Have four of them. Two of them are sitting on my lap right now (try typing like that! my email consultants, n'est ce-pas?). And I know that you adopted Norton who was already an outdoors cat, there was no way to change that. But cats are, by nature, little killing machines. That's their instinct. Can't expect them to stop-especially if they are outdoor cats, they can't be trained that way, any more than you can train a snake to not eat I just sat through a two hour lecture today that Emile Devito gave on Pine Barrens longdistance neotropical migrating birds at the short course. He emphatically stressed that cats are most assuredly a problem to these birds, (not the only problem, though) especially as we infringe upon their habitat. They are a big problem to these birds--much greater of a problem than they would be your "resident" birds like robins and bluejays and cardinals. That's just the way it is. Chipmunks, otoh, I wouldn't worry about them being driven to extinction. Those chipmunks will eat the bird eggs and even the baby birds too.
BTW, I asked some local experts at the Raptor Festival and they said that yes, a really hungry raptor most certainly could attack a cat. I don't know about Norton though...he was such a big fella! Maybe the bird underestimated his size and then had second thoughts!
Renee
 
B

BarryC

Guest
Renee,
Thanks for all this information.
You should have seen Norton when he heard the cry/call of that bird! I had never seen him move so fast! And I never did see the bird. I only heard him.
You trying to type with the cats on your lap reminded me of when I used to try to photograph lichen and other small things with Norton following me around. Unbelievable.
bach2yoga said:
Barry,
Outdoor cats are a real problem to birds, especially long distance neotropical migrating birds--there are app 30 species of them in the Pines, different warblers, tanagers, ovenbirds, etc., many on the decline, not only because of loss of rainforest habitat, but also because of loss of habitat here in their breeding grounds-the Pines, and exposure to cats and cowbirds and chipmunks.
I love cats. Have four of them. Two of them are sitting on my lap right now (try typing like that! my email consultants, n'est ce-pas?). And I know that you adopted Norton who was already an outdoors cat, there was no way to change that. But cats are, by nature, little killing machines. That's their instinct. Can't expect them to stop-especially if they are outdoor cats, they can't be trained that way, any more than you can train a snake to not eat I just sat through a two hour lecture today that Emile Devito gave on Pine Barrens longdistance neotropical migrating birds at the short course. He emphatically stressed that cats are most assuredly a problem to these birds, (not the only problem, though) especially as we infringe upon their habitat. They are a big problem to these birds--much greater of a problem than they would be your "resident" birds like robins and bluejays and cardinals. That's just the way it is. Chipmunks, otoh, I wouldn't worry about them being driven to extinction. Those chipmunks will eat the bird eggs and even the baby birds too.
BTW, I asked some local experts at the Raptor Festival and they said that yes, a really hungry raptor most certainly could attack a cat. I don't know about Norton though...he was such a big fella! Maybe the bird underestimated his size and then had second thoughts!
Renee
 
B

bach2yoga

Guest
BarryC said:
Renee,
Thanks for all this information.
You should have seen Norton when he heard the cry/call of that bird! I had never seen him move so fast! And I never did see the bird. I only heard him.
You trying to type with the cats on your lap reminded me of when I used to try to photograph lichen and other small things with Norton following me around. Unbelievable.
Yeh, he was cute that way, wasn't he? He was cool--big fella, definitely an alpha male, but very loveable.

Sighs...I can't believe how much I didn't know about birds in the Pines. Most of those are songbirds except like the whip-poor-will and broad winged hawk. I can tell there is a lot to that topic after listening to Emile. He's been studying them for over 20 years and on several occasions spent up to 6 weeks studying them in their wintering homes, Costa Rican rainforest, etc. (I wish, right!)

I was hoping to start to get into them a bit, but I think it will have to go on the back burner for a while, between Ted's plant course, the vernal ponds monitoring, the watershed RATS and BATS testing and the adopt a swamp pink populations...I'm just overloaded right now.
Maybe next year... :?

Renee
 

screeningroom

New Member
Feb 24, 2013
1
0
1
39
Yes, hawks and other large birds of prey can and will take a cat. These birds will kill an animal by dropping it from a great height, so if they can snatch an unaware or frightened animal, there's no need for them to fight it out. Plus a cat is not much of a match for the talons of a large hawk or an eagle. The bottom line proof is the way your cat ran at the sound of the hawk screech. If you're seeing an instinctual behavior like that, then that's your answer right there. Natural genetic behavior is a better expert than any human's opinion and what they've observed or not observed.
 

gipsie

Explorer
Sep 14, 2008
519
20
18
50
atlantic county
I lived in a condo in Galloway Township. I got a kitten around Thanksgiving 2011. I was on the 3rd floor so I used to open my balcony door so she could go outside. One day the door was closed and I kept hearing a loud mewing so I opened the door to see if ne of my neighbors had a cat. I looked over my roof at the same time a hawk looked down over the edge of the eaves. I am not sure who scared who more... Turns out it had some kind of nest with a baby out there. My kitten ran out, the hawk looked interested and I grabbed my kitten and took her inside. I never let her out again, because from that point on, I would see the hawk sitting on my balcony railing. I thought it may be looking for the kitten, maybe as a meal for its baby....I wasn't taking any chances.

I have since moved out of there, and the kitten is a yearand a half and doing well.
001.JPG
 

kayak karl

Explorer
Sep 18, 2008
495
79
28
63
Swedesboro, NJ
i'm trying to get permission to post pics i saw of a bald eagle near mystic island drowning a mallard duck, then flying off with it. it sat in the water with it in his claws till it was dead.