Disturbing trend of cats being killed by coyotes in South Austin

A disturbing trend in a South Austin neighborhood after multiple people have been finding mutilated cat remains and it had people in one neighborhood very worried.

“She always wanted to climb on my chest and one night, I said, ‘Well why not?’ So I did, and I petted her. That was the last time I ever saw her.” It was about 3-years ago South Austin resident Kelso King says one of cats never made it home. “She was elderly but she was still in good shape, she was physically fit and everything.”

One year ago, same situation, different cat.

“That cat was in perfect health, I mean it wasn't sick, it wasn't old, it just disappeared,” he said.

The disturbing trend of cat's disappearing without a trace seems to be hitting the South Austin community hard. On Nextdoor, a social network for community members you will see post after post, plea after plea of desperate people trying to find their missing cats.

King set up a camera and believes he found a culprit, a coyote.

The Austin Police Department said they have been called to 20 to 30 cases so far this year where they've determined coyotes are killing cats. Monday, they were called to investigate after someone found the remains of at least one cat mutilated near the pipeline.

The pipeline is known to neighbors as the Interstate for wildlife, “I'm constantly worried about them. I hate to keep them inside because they wouldn’t be happy that way, but I also don't want them to be coyote food either, so it's a real dilemma,” King said.

The Humane Society said the best thing is to keep cats indoors. Being protected from the dangers outside they will live longer, happier lives. If you do have cats outside, they recommend:

  • Feeding only during a set-time during the day and picking up any leftovers immediately.
  • Giving cats escape routes, such as posts elevated at least ten to 12 feet. These can be climbed by cats, but not coyotes.
  • Elevating feeding stations
  • Discouraging coyotes seen on the property. The Humane Society said going after them aggressively makes them feel uncomfortable will encourage them to stay out of the area.

Despite having multiple cats disappear, it hasn't stopped King and his wife from opening their home to more cats, but now he takes more precautions to keep them safe.

“This is our cat named Love, she's 5- months-old. This is the world’s cutest kitten, she's great, but I really worry about her, she's very adventurous and curious and as they say curiosity killed the cat,” Kelso said.

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