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Are raccoons dangerous to cats?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
The last three nights I have caught a raccoon eating our cat food by our front door. I'm worried about whether it is a threat to my cats, especially the kittens. It is very, very big. I would say about 4 times the size of my largest male cat. I read online that they mostly eat berries and nuts, but sometimes birds and young rabbits.

Has anyone had any experience with this? I have just been opening the door and yelling at it and it will leave for a while. One time when I saw it was coming down the sidewalk and one of my cats was just laying there looking at it, not getting upset at all, so I don't know if I'm overreacting. I didn't want to wait to see if they were friendly or not.

If anyone has any advice let me know. Thanks.
post #2 of 23
Fireshoes; The biggest threat is rabies. Raccoons are notorious carriers. If there are fights betwen your cats and the raccoons that draw blood the rabies can be passed. As far as whether they will attack if not sick or povoked, I don't know. Perhaps Hissy or Rene or one of the other memers that have had experiences with rescuing raccoons will see this post and come on with better advice for you. If it were me, I would try to get in touch with local animal control and see what they have to say.
post #3 of 23
Besides rabies, some coons carry a parasite called Baylisascariasis. If your cat sniffs at a pile of raccoon excrement, the parasite can enter the animal and cause all kinds of problems and even death. You can sprinkle diacatumus (my spelling is bad) earth crystals around the area and that will discourage the coons but not hurt your cats. You need to keep all dry food out of the way in sealed barrels is best, and feed only what you know the cats will eat in a short time at night. Coons will bite hard enough if provoked to remove a finger, so if a cat gets confrontational with a coon, it could be disastrous. They will also kill small kittens, but that isn't very common. Most mom cats will defend the kittens to her death.

Sorry to worry you, but even though they look comical and cute and cuddly, they are still wild and should be treated as such. All the babies that come under my care are bottle fed and handled with thick welding gloves. When they are old enough, they are released to a rehab center and then turned back into the wild. I would never keep one as a pet unless it was so sick and injured that it wouldn't survive.
post #4 of 23
I used to feed our neighbors the raccoons, when we lived adjacent to a wood. I'd take care, though, regarding kittens being in proximity to raccoons.


[Edited by Mr. Cat on 05-10-2001 at 03:08 AM]
post #5 of 23
Hissy; Thanks so much for giving her the right scoop on raccoons. I knew you would know best. Do you still have the baby ones you wrote about bathing?
post #6 of 23
And no, they were released into protected forest along the coast about a month ago. I am sure I will have many wild animal adventures to share this summer. My house is always open for injured and abandoned wild ones....both with two feet and four! LOL
post #7 of 23
Sorry about that, baby skunks/raccoon switcheroo. Except for different tails and masks,I was on the right track. . . . . .TLK, is it time for your nap yet? ? ? ????
post #8 of 23

Notice the cats, who are inside, express great interest in their woodland friends.

post #9 of 23
Oh Mr. Cat.... what a beautiful picture of the coons!!!!!!!!

And I can see those curious eyes (the cat eyes) looking out at them...

I think coons are so beautiful, and it pains me so much to have my husband (who is a trapper...but not by MY choice) kill hundreds of them in traps every winter. It is so hard for me to deal with...but he says, "well it pays the fuel oil bill, and keeps you warm, so stop complaining"
post #10 of 23
Debby: Why does he trap coons? Do people buy them for their fir? How primative that in the 21st century we still wear animal skins as a fashion statement.

[Edited by threeleggedkat on 05-11-2001 at 12:38 PM]
post #11 of 23
Yes Threeleggedkat....people still do buy skins!!! He ships them to Canada and gets anywhere from 5-15 dollars a skin, depending on the size, shape, and look of the skin...they actually auction them off there.

I hate it...but without it, we would have no savings whatsoever, and not be able to afford anything extra at all.

My hubby says that if it werent for trappers that trap the coons, they would over populate, and consume over half of the farmers crop, which would affect us all, or they would get diseases, or starve because there were so many of them fighting for the same food.

He does have a point.

But it still makes me sad.
post #12 of 23

Hi... I am sad to say that three young kittens, maybe two weeks old, were killed on my deck last night. 

I believe that a raccoon stepped on them, or fell on them, but I do NOT think the raccoon intentionally harmed them.   There are no signs of injuries that would have come from a physical attack, such as blood. 


These kittens were of a very young outdoor cat, who had them in precarious circumstances.  There are several other grown cats, mostly male, that helped the mother (Peggy) care for the kittens.   The cats obviously stood guard, and protected the kittens from wandering.  


There are also raccoons that come up on the deck to eat the cat food.   There were two of them last was the usual visitor, the other a sometime-friend.  The regular is used to me and does not seem afraid of me.   (Yes, I DO use caution!)  Well last night ALL of the animals were very nervous because it was 4th of July and the neighbors all around were blasting off fireworks. 


The raccoon did try to hide under a table/shelter, and what I think happened is that the kittens were way in the back against the house, and the raccoon for whatever reason stepped on them or stumbled against them and injured them.   This is a large raccoon, and very small kittens.  


As I said, the raccoons and the cats were all very nervous about the fireworks!


So...from now on I will provide a more protected refuge for very young kittens if they insist on living on my deck!  


For over a year  the raccoon/s have come up on the deck to eat and drink water, and I have never seen them threaten or even frighten the cats.  In fact kittens will eat right out of the same  dish with raccoons,   


So from now on I will be cautious...but not afraid of the raccoons--although I would like to discourage them. 


P.S.   since Peggy and I have bonded, she will be spayed and get her vaccines and tests--and become a house cat.   :-)



post #13 of 23

oops... I neglected to explain WHY a raccoon might stumble and fall on a pile of kittens.........

it was frightened and surrounded by about five hostile cats that were trying to get the

raccoon to leave.   


bonds with cats... (catmama)

post #14 of 23
My Sister had a cat almost killed by a raccoon, fighting over the food. Tore in his middle, tail was almost fell over. She thought Captain was going to die. So yes, raccoons are very dangerous
post #15 of 23

MuezettesMom, Thanks for filling in.   I will take what you said to heart, and use extra caution. 

Usually we don't have kittens on the deck until they are a lot older.  When you mentioned your

sister's cat fighting with a raccoon it reminded me of once when our dog Smoky had a run-in

with a raccoon out in the corn field.   My husband had to help her get away from it. 


You are right, it's never good to trust wild animals. 


bonds with cats~

post #16 of 23
I found the conversation here while doing a Google search and am only joining to reply to this thread. Raccoons are EXTREMELY dangerous to both cats and dogs, as well as humans. They are NOT cuddly scamps like you might see in Disney movies and cartoons. They are predators and will actively seek out fights with your pets. There is no doubt in my mind that the raccoon that the poster referred to in one of the posts killed the kittens intentionally.

I know that some who read this may instantly disregard what I'm saying, but I implore you to do some Googling if you doubt what I'm saying. Raccoons are not to be messed with, and they will kill your pets. It breaks my heart to read that those three kittens died.
post #17 of 23

Hi Peanutbutter...thanks for posting about the raccoons.  I am aware of the dangers from any wild animals,

and appreciate input.  I've seen dogs fighting with raccoons. 


My experience has been that my outside cats are not afraid of raccoons, but I try to discourage them.

I don't put food out after dark.  


As for the three kittens that were killed, the mother is very young herself, and gave birth on my deck under

a winter shelter I had built for cats.   The nest was in a very precarious position, and the other cats did

go out of their way to help her guard the kittens.  The little ones were out of the nest crawling around

before they could walk, and I was very much afraid that they would be stepped on.   I tried moving them

to a safer location, but the kittens would have none of that once they got a taste of freedom. 


We have four inside cats by the way, all rescues. 


I always work on the assumption that wild animals are dangerous, and that big critters are dangerous

to little ones.   However, THIS raccoon did not deliberately kill THESE kittens.   They were in a small

pile, and there was no sign of trauma or blood, or any signs of foul play. 


I went out of my way to examine the little carcasses, and I personally put them in a plastic bag 

and buried them in an animal graveyard at the rear of our farm property.  I even say a few words

about them, as although I am not a religious person I do respect all forms of life and their general

contribution to the world.  


Incidentally...feral cats are a BIG problem here in this part  of Ohio.   I have taken two females to be

spayed so far, and will take more.     This was and is at my own expense, although fortunately there

are low-cost services available.  


I know I am under no obligation to explain the raccoon-kitten incident to anyone, but I also would have

been devastated to hear the simple details fact I cried for three days and still tear over when

I think about it. 




post #18 of 23

We have raccoons in the yard almost nightly.  They come up onto the deck alot too.  They smell where there has been cat food.  I always bring the cat food in at night.  My outdoor ferals will occasionally hiss at the raccoons, but usually they just coexist.  THere is nothing I can do to stop them from coming up onto the deck or into my yard.  I do my best to warn the cats to stay away from them.  I live in a very suburban area and we have deer, groundhog, oppossum, skunk, raccoon, fox and coyote.  Fortunately the coyote's don't come around but once or twice a year.  The red fox on the other hand is here weekly.  Yet, fox don't usually go after cats.


I do believe it will be a constant battle for the ferals to protect themselves from other wildlife.  I do my best for them. 


I am so so very sorry for the loss of your kittens, bonds with cats. 

post #19 of 23
I've taken care of various feral cats and kittens on my block for 2 years. The raccoons, opossums and cats have learned to co-exist. They ignore each other. When I feed my main feral on my porch at nite I sit beside him and talk to him with porch light on and the raccoons stay away. There's no sense in worrying about what you can't control.
post #20 of 23

I have been successful in keeping racoons from cat food feeders, but only with active monitoring..   After years of futile effort, I discovered that an electrified fence device will keep raccoons from coming back.    These devices goes for $35.00 and up  (try Amazon) will deliver a strong shock to a racoon without harming them.   The racoon is smart enough to stay away from the electrified area.   In fact, if other racoons are nearby when the shock is delivered,they  will also stay away just from watching the racoon that has been shocked.   I estimate the deterence is effective for many months. 


The system has one drawback and that it must be turn on only when the racoon is nearby.   It will deliver a strong HV shock so you won't want to inadvertently shock someone or a friendly animla.   Do not attempt to leave the HV on without monitoring the site as it is possible to harm an animal or human if they gets tangled with the HV wire and can't get away.     I use a night infared cam to observe the feed area so the HV is only turn on when the racoon is touching the hot wire.

Otherwise, the HV is always off.    If you are willing to go thru this much trouble, I can say that this system works better than any other that I know of.     

post #21 of 23

Here is a really excellent short article from - a small company that makes feral cat shelters.  The people there have an ingenious way of keeping raccoons away from cat food for feral cats.  Clever.  And they still feed the raccoons.  There are some photographs at the site.

post #22 of 23

YES, RACCOONS ARE DANGEROUS TO OUTDOOR CATS and other pets, and to humans. I just had a litter of kittens eaten because the mother was young and inexperienced and left them in an unsafe place, and we also just lost our rooster and a hen to the same smart marauder.  


Raccoons are omnivores, like little bears.  They eat everything, including adult chickens and baby kittens.  Raccoons are physically strong and resilient for their size, highly intelligent, have sharp teeth, clever "hands," and are excellent swimmers; the babies are extra-cute and smart, but get aggressive when they reach sexual maturity.


They carry a type of roundworms that in turn spread baylisascaris, which can be spread to kittens by sniffing coon poop (and the coons often poop where they eat). ( ) This is a serious disease, and human children young enough to stick fingers in their mouths are at greatest risk. YOU are at risk if poop gets spread into the house on the bottoms of shoes. I was told by the Lichterman Nature Center in Memphis that they would not rehab coons, because the worm eggs are difficult to eradicate, and the cages must not only be disinfected but also treated with extreme heat (a propane torch or other heat source) to eradicate the roundworms that KILL other animals.


I like raccoons, and am sorry they carry these parasites and are unhealthy around humans and pets, BUT PLEASE DON'T FEED THEM OR TRY TO MAKE PETS OF THEM.    Feed your cats in the mid-morning, and remove all food before night.  If you want to see what happened in Japan with raccoon overpopulation, see here: People in Japan thought they were sweet little pets and imported them!


Here's one more documentary with really good info.



Raccoons belong in a natural environment, and eat "roots and berries," and crayfish, other fish, small animals, eggs, or whatever they find that's edible. They should be in the wild and fear humans, just like bears. Also like bears,  the ones found in cities who do not fear humans and are used to eating garbage should be killed humanely, if it's even possible to eradicate them at this point.  They can easily become as big a problem as rats, and make up in cleverness and strength for not being able to hide as easily as rats. 

post #23 of 23

Since this thread has been revived I will add that Distemper is also a concern, along with rabies and the other long word I forgot to copy and paste.  Here in Ontario, Canada, we were raccoon rabies free for eons, but it did develop (thought to have been imported from New York state, we got rid of it and declared Ontario Raccoon Rabies free, and now it's back.  But still, Distemper is a more likely worry for most of Ontario.  And yes, they will fight to protect food sources, kill small animals and are a threat to cats.  

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