Do Eagles Eat Cats?

Yes Eagles do eat cats, albeit infrequently.

Although eagles are meat eaters they are also carrion eaters. Their preferred dish is fish, followed by other birds and wildfowl.

Cats aren’t a natural item on an eagle’s menu.

What To Do To Protect Your Cat From Eagles?

  1. Supervise your cat’s outings.
  2. Stay close to your cat if she has kittens.
  3. Cut down or make uncomfortable any potential perches.
  4. Don’t attract other birds to your property.
  5. Clear away pet food so it doesn’t attract other scavengers
General Facts About Eagles:
– Scientific name: Family Accipitridae
– Lifespan: 20-30 years in the wild
– Size: they range from 2ft-3ft.3inches
– Wingspan: up to 7ft
– Weight: 3-14lbs
– Diet: carnivorous
– Habitat: mainly forested areas near water

Statistics about Eagles

bald eagle screeching

There are 59 species world-wide with two in North America.

They can fly at heights of up to 15,000 ft.

Cruising speed  is 35-40 mph.

Diving speeds have been recorded at over 160 mph.

In 2007 almost 10,000 nesting pairs were recorded.

Only 50% of fledglings survive to adulthood.

Eagles have no natural predators.

Eagles fall into 4 groups: Fish, Booted, Snake, and Harpy.

Anecdotal Evidence Of Eagles Attacking Cats

You can find video evidence of eagles snatching and eating cats, but these are aberrations. If that happened so frequently there would an outcry among cat owners, which number in their millions.

The odd occurrence has become a folktale. There may well be an uptrend of this phenomenon, but that is because of the increasing human population and the number of domestic cats that they own.

The more cats as pets there are, the more chance of a lazy eagle targeting one as easy prey as in the video below.

**The content in this video may be disturbing to some people**

Although they are raptors and therefore meat-eaters, eagles rarely take live mammals as food. They are carrion eaters and much prefer dead prey (such as the fox in the image below).

golden eagle feeding on a fox

The majority of their diet is fish.

Other birds figure largely in their diet too. Eagles are also aerial pirates, forcing other bird of prey to give up their catch. Some do have small mammals on their list of food sources, but most won’t have domestic or household cats on the list.

If you live in a suburban area that is next to a wildlife zone, then you can be sure that your pets, including your cat, will have encounters with other wild animals.

Eagles don’t have any natural predators in the wild. Man is their greatest threat and eagles will nest and hunt far away from human habitations. Although eagles have their traditional sources of food, they are also, like all predators, opportunists.

When other game is scarce, a small or weak-looking cat may look like a good bet. That may happen when they are feeding their eaglets.

Most eagles are larger than any other raptors apart from some vultures.

Wikipedia

Cats vs Eagles

Most eagles swoop and carry away their prey. If the initial attack doesn’t kill them, then they will be killed and eaten at the eyrie. Once an eagle has its talons into its prey, there is little hope of survival.

Eagles have very strong beaks and even stronger talons. Taken by surprise, it is doubtful that any cat would be able to retaliate and put up an effective defense. 

Eagles have three methods of attack. One is from a perch for a low level horizontal approach, another is diving straight down from above and the third is a ground attack.

The first two will take their prey completely by surprise. The third, when they are grubbing on the ground for insects, is probably the only time a cat would have a chance of fighting off an eagle.  In that case, they could bring their full armory into play.

Although eagles are the apex predators of the avian world, faced with a fast and furious, spitting creature on the ground, the odds are tilted the other way. If an eagle’s talons can’t get a grip and pierce the cat’s body, the cat has a chance.

The bald eagle is noted for having flown with the heaviest load verified to be carried by any flying bird, since one eagle flew with a 6.8 kg (15 lb.) mule deer fawn.

Amazing Bird Records 2017

Also Read:
Do Hawks Eat Cats?
Do Owls Eat Cats?
Do Buzzards Eat Cats?


Cats at Risk

In the case of raptors like the eagles, no cat can be said to be completely safe. There are very few places to hide if one decided to make a meal of your cat.

Eagles mainly hunt in open ranges near large bodies of water, but they are also adaptable. Many can thread their way through thick forest to get at their prey.

Cats that wander away from home are probably the most at risk. Eagles are unlikely to glide over built up areas peering down into gardens and yards for prey.

an eagle taking off from a tree

Most eagles won’t try to snatch and carry away anything that is bigger or weighs more than they do. The average weight that eagles can lift and fly away with is 4lbs. 

Depending on where they live, some Bald Eagles eat mainly fish; others subsist mostly on other birds, such as gulls and geese.

audubon.org

How to Keep Eagles Away

  1. Covered pet runs will help.
  2. Stretch netting overexposed areas.
  3. Encourage crows or ravens to nest near your property.
  4. Put up enclosed and roofed playpens.
  5. Prune trees to eliminate perches.
  6. Remove bird feeders.
  7. Use scarecrows or bird decoys

The eagle watches its prey and then dives down to grab it with either its talons or beak.

joyofanimals

Other Pets at Risk From Eagles

If your cat is at risk from eagle attacks, then your other pets will be too. With their magnificent eyesight, eagles can see your pet rabbit, hamsters, or lap dog taking exercise on the lawn.

Even the fish and amphibians in your pond can be an eagle’s next meal. Eagles may well just ignore the mammals and grab the fish instead.

Take-Away

Eagles have been known to kill and eat cats, but it isn’t common or habitual behavior among this species of raptor. Pet birds, if you let them out of their cages, are more likely to be a target.

Eagles aren’t a danger to your cat if you live in an urban or suburban area. Man is the eagle’s greatest threat, having no other natural predators, so they usually stay shy of humans and their habitations.


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