Do owls eat cats?


Owls are omnivorous animals that generally prey on small animals and birds and feed on them. Owls are great predators, especially at night and they hunt on animals which is an easy approach for owls at night. The food which the owls eat may differ depending on the types of owls and their different diet and nutrients.

Screech owls reside in areas with mixed woods or deciduous forests. They usually feed on various types of insects, reptiles, mice, and any small bird. A great horned owl usually lives in woodlands, swamps, orchards, and agricultural areas. They eat mostly rabbits, moles, kittens, crows, doves, hawks, and squirrels. The young owls have the same diet as the adult owls of their species. 


Owls are meat eaters and they hunt various species to feed on them. But the question is do they eat cats? Then the answer is yes! They might attack cats when they see them outside but cats are their option when there is the scarce availability of food resources for the owls. Not all species of owls eat cats, some species attack and feed on them and some don’t. But large owls like a barred owl can attack larger animals like cats, dogs, foxes, and hares.

Owls attack animals like cats, only because of these reasons:

  • The usual prey is not available for the owl so the owl attacks whatever is present. This may mean your pet cat.
  • They want to steal the food that the cat has hunted like a rodent.
  • The owl has to protect its young and its territories. If a cat invades its nest or its territories, the owl is likely to attack.
  • Owls have super sharp talons that can kill most cats with a deadly blow. They also have the benefit of flight which they use to take their victims by surprise.

Probably you also need to differentiate between pet cats and ‘barn cats’. While they often act like any pet cat and will rub your leg for attention, they are actually a lot more wild than you might think. Even though you feed them, they get a substantial portion of their diet from the small animals that invade the barn and are much less likely to get attacked by a barn owl (or any other owl, like barred owls or great horned owls).

You might also be interested to know about Can you have the owl as a pet?

Larger owls such as Great Horned Owl or Eurasian Eagle are known to take animals even larger than adult cats (eg., great blue herons, small alligators), though they’re unique in that they’re well equipped to fight back unlike their prey which includes red foxes and raccoons).

Species of owls attack cats and eat them

The great horned owl is known to attack cats. They are big in size and are also known to attack and eat other small pets like puppies, birds, and big rodents. The Eagle-owl is another type of owl known to eat cats. They are one of the largest owls; anything they can kill is an animal they can pretty much eat.

When do owls attack cats?

Owls are nocturnal creatures. They are always active at night time, but they don’t stay active for the entire night. Certain species have a preference for food.  Some owls are opportunists; they will hunt whatever prey is available in the area. This is how pets such as domestic cats may end up as their meal.

How can your cat be kept safe?

The best way to protect your cat from an owl attack is to stop letting your cat roam outside during night time. Owls are nocturnal hunters. Keep all windows and doors closed so that your cat stays indoors. Covering your patio for your outdoor cat is also a good idea. Cats living in a rural area or an area with a lot of trees are more likely to get preyed on.

Owls are more active during some seasons. It has been found that owls hunt more during a full moon. Small cats weighing less than 9 lb (4 kg) or kittens are more at risk of owl attacks as owls can easily carry them in comparison to a larger animal. Keep your cat indoors or always accompany them whenever they go outside.


Do owls eat dogs?

Now an average dog is much bigger than a cat so we know that an owl would not just be picking up and swallowing it whole! Owls do hunt dogs in some cases but there’s no need to worry – like cats, however, the dog doesn’t usually die. They can pick up or attack larger animals (such as foxes) which do have them concerned for their safety, so the best thing you can do is keep your pets indoors at night. If they’re scared of being out in the dark then you’ll just have to come to terms with that – it’s safer for the birds too if you leave them inside.

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