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Can Cats Attack or Kill My Chickens?

  • Post category:Behavior
  • Post last modified:April 13, 2020
  • Reading time:5 mins read
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Have you decided to start raising chickens in your backyard? Do you let your cat roam free outside from time to time? Are you wondering, can cats attack or kill my chickens?

The answer to these questions isn’t a quick yes or no answer. In fact, it may depend on certain factors such as the type of cat you have and whether your cat lives mainly inside or outside. 

The size of your chickens also play a huge role in determining if your chickens will be in danger of getting killed by your beloved cat. 

Cats Don’t Usually Attack Adult Chickens

can cats attack or kill my chickens?

A cat will not normally attack a large or adult chicken. Cats are typically smaller than the average adult chicken. 

Your cat will know that they have no chance against an animal that’s larger than them, so most felines won’t even bother trying. 

Your cat will also figure out just by looking at your chickens that the chickens have other advantages besides size, such as sharp beaks and other natural armor.

This is the same reason that you’ll rarely see a cat try to fight any other animals that are slightly larger than them such as a coyote or a raccoon.

If your cat does end up killing or attacking one of your adult chickens, your cat will most certainly look like it was in a fight.

Cats DO Attack Baby Chicklings

You should automatically assume that your chicklings will be in danger until they become full grown and are finally larger than your cat. 

Cats love to hunt mice, small birds, and other smaller animals and insects. Trust that your cat sees no difference between small chicklings and mice.

To your cat, they are both one and the same, so expect that your cat will behave as such. Hunting is a natural instinct that your cat will always have regardless if it’s an indoor or outdoor cat. 

Remember, a small chickling is essentially just another bird to your cat.

The Type of Cat You Have Plays a Part

If your cat is considered a barn cat, then it may be more likely to attack or hunt your chickens. This also applies to feral cats. Barn and feral cats are usually decent mouse hunters. Your cat will not see a difference if your chickens are small.

If you have an indoor cat that you also allow to roam around outside, then you will still have to keep a close eye on any chicken hunting behavior. 

Cats are hunters by instinct. Hunting, chasing, stalking, killing, playing. It’s in your cat’s DNA and that will never change. 

How To Keep Your Baby Chicks Safe

The best way to keep your baby chicklings safe is to avoid placing them in the same room that your cat may have access to. 

If this is not possible, consider keeping them safe by putting them in a secure brooder box. Because your cat may try to stick its paw in there, use a durable screen or a fine mesh hardware cloth. 

Also, make sure that your cat cannot find any way into the brooder box. They may try to jump on top or overturn it so plan ahead for that. You don’t want anything to catch on fire. Safety first.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, the best thing to do is to never let your cat go outside – period. Leave the chickens out of the house and leave your cat inside your house. This is best for both species, but especially for your cat. 

It has been proven time and time again that indoor cats are more likely to live longer than their outdoor counterparts. 

Even letting your cat roam freely in and out of your home presents many dangers that, in my opinion, aren’t worth letting my cat go outside.