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Protect your small pets from coyotes

Updated June 22, 2012

A Cerritos resident recently reported that two coyotes attacked her cat. Although the cat required a trip to the vet, it survived the attack.

Please eliminate attractants (food, water and shelter), keep dogs on a leash at all times, and keep small animals inside.

California coyotes have adapted to residential neighborhoods, parks, and open spaces in urban and suburban areas, and have seemingly lost their fear of humans. This may be a result of behavioral changes that have occurred over several generations of coyotes, in localities where predator control is no longer practiced. Coyotes thrive in such areas because food, water and shelter are abundant, and coyotes living in these environments may come to associate humans with food and protection. Once attracted to suburban areas, they prey on the abundant rodents, rabbits, birds, house cats and small dogs that live in residential habitats. They also eat household garbage, pet food, and seeds and fruits of many garden and landscape plants. In some localities, this has resulted in the development of local coyote populations that seemingly ignore people, while a few coyotes have become increasingly aggressive toward humans. Some coyotes have stalked and even attacked children or adults, or have attacked pets being walked on a leash by their owners.

Cerritos residents who see a coyote in their neighborhood should attempt to frighten it away by shouting, throwing rocks, squirting it with a water hose, blowing portable air horns, or otherwise acting aggressively in order to reinforce the coyote’s fear of people. Motion-sensitive lights on houses or outbuildings may also deter coyotes from approaching.

If you or your pets are approached by an aggressive or fearless coyote, consider the following tips:

  • Shout in a deep voice.
  • Wave your arms.
  • Throw objects at the animal.
  • Look the coyote directly in the eyes.
  • Stand up if you are seated.
  • If you are wearing a coat or vest, spread it open like a cape so that you appear larger.
  • Retreat from the situation by walking slowly backward so that you do not turn your back on the coyote.

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