I received an email last week from Shirley Jedele, the human mom of Pitypat who had rescued her from the woods near her home several years ago. Pitypat was our Cat Picture of the Week in October, 2009, and I remembered her wellk, not only because of her beauty, but because of her rescue story.
The reason for Shirley's email was to let me know that Pitypat had died - the victim of a coyote from the forest she had been rescued from. Unfortunately, Pitypat had never accepted the use of a litter box, and had been allowed outside briefly morning and evening to take care of her needs. She had always stayed close to the house and returned inside within 10 minutes, but that fateful evening she didn't return, although Shirley went out looking for her. The next morning Shirley found evidence of what had taken place, including pawprints of a coyote.
Image © Shirley Jedele
Shirley wrote because she wanted me to warn other readers about the dangers of coyotes to our cats. She wrote, "I live on busy Main St. in a town in Florida. Certainly not a wooded area." However, a neighbor had mentioned a few months ago seeing a coyote in the area, and some of the ferals Shirley had been feeding had disappeared. I've emailed Shirley that I had just recently written an article on 11 Wildlife Dangers to Cats, which included coyotes in the list. However, it should be emphasized that these animals can also be found close to more heavily populated areas, and are not confined to forested terrain. As we have built out more intrusively into their habitat, they must venture into our towns for food. Unfortunately, cats are among their prey.
Pitypat, may your story serve as a warning to save other cats. Rest in Peace, beautiful girl.