Cat behavior isn't always predictable, especially when it comes to how they might act around other animals. Some cats simply adore being around dogs. Other felines couldn't care less about dogs. Some cats even prefer to stay far away from them. Their interactions with foxes are equally hard to envision.
Foxes and domestic cats are, for the most part, indifferent to each other. They don't often go out of their way to interact, even if it's in a negative way. This doesn't mean they're the greatest of friends, either. Foxes sometimes even find a cat's presence intimidating. They also frequently keep their distance from domestic dogs.
Indifference often exists between foxes and cats, but that is far from the case 100 percent of the time. Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) sometimes view domestic cats as tasty meals, particularly if they're of a smaller size. They either opt for mature cats that are particularly tiny or wee kittens. This sometimes occurs in times of scant sustenance.
Cats also know how to handle themselves around foxes. If foxes pursue them, they often respond by showing their sharp chompers and claws. This menacing display often drives foxes away. In short, both foxes and cats can be hazards to each other.
Apart from sometimes making meals out of house cats, foxes also can behave extremely defensively around them. If a fox is in the presence of her offspring, her parenting instincts might cause her to behave aggressively around felines. Cats sometimes do kill juvenile foxes, after all.
If you're concerned about the possible dangers in your cat meeting a fox, play it safe and make sure you always keep your cat securely indoors, no matter what. If your cat is on his own outdoors without you to look after him, he has a much bigger chance of becoming prey to a fox -- definitely not something you want to imagine. Since red and gray foxes are both predominantly nocturnal creatures, the night hours are especially risky for cats.
- American Humane Association: Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats
- The Humane Society of the United States: What to Do About Foxes
- Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center: Fox Fact Sheet
- Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Angell: About Foxes
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Cats and Foxes
- Leicester City Council: Foxes
- The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: Urban Foxes
- Telegraph: Hungry Foxes Start Eating the Nation's Cats
- Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images