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Exploring Owl Diets: Do Owls Eat Cats?

Do Owls Eat Cats

Owls are known to have a wide variety in their diet. Starting from mammals to birds and amphibians, they hunt them all. Thus, cats are no exception.

But do owls eat cats? It’s not common for owls to hunt cats. However, there are cases where owls have selected cats as their prey. This generally happens when the cat is small and vulnerable. Additionally, when there is a short supply of the regular diet that the owls consume. 

Nevertheless, there are a lot of things to consider before you can answer whether your pet cat is safe or not. So, without any further ado, let’s dig in deep.

Do Owls Eat Cats?

Do Owls Eat Cats

Owls have gained the reputation of eating any living being they find within their reach. As long as it can’t protect itself from the owls, the bird-of-prey will go for it.

This includes rats, rabbits, frogs, birds, and even insects. To understand whether an owl will hunt your cat or not, we have to understand the owl’s eating behavior first.

Understanding Owls Eating Behavior

  • Owls are carnivorous birds, meaning they primarily feed on other animals. 
  • The primary thing you should know about owls’ eating behavior is that they are opportunistic hunters. They strive for food and will seek anything to keep their stomach full. 
  • Additionally, due to their brawniness, most of their prey can’t do anything to help themselves. 
  • Nevertheless, when it comes to cats, it’s not their priority to hunt. They would rather fight with a rabbit, mice, or an insect than a cat as it has more strength to defend itself. 

However, the owl’s habitat and size play a significant role in whether they can hunt down a cat or not. So, let’s check out when an owl will hunt a cat in the next section.

Factors That Influence Owl To Eat Cat

Influence Owl To Eat Cat

Here are the factors that influence an owl to eat your pet cat:

Short Supply Of Food

Owls may come across situations where there is a short supply of food. That means no rabbits, insects, or birds are being sighted. This generally happens due to different habitats, such as urban environments. 

See also:  Do Owls Eat Worms? A Detailed Look

Urbanization often leads to habitat fragmentation and destruction, reducing the availability of suitable prey for owls. As a result, because of their starving bodies, they might grab a cat when they see it running around freely.

Owl’s Size

Owl’s Size

The size of an owl determines whether it can fight a cat or not. Certainly, small owls aren’t able to fight cats, which leads to searching for other food rather than hunting a cat. 

On the other hand, big-sized owls are undoubtedly capable of snatching your cat away. So they could give it a try. 

Cat Size

Cat Size

Whether it be a big-sized owl or a small one, no owl would like to fight a big cat. Cats aged 2-6 months are on the risky side, whereas a 2-year-old is on the safe side when it comes to getting hunted. 

Cat’s Vulnerability

The vulnerability of cats is all about size, age, and habitat. Age plays a significant role as the older the cats get, the more experienced they are.

Similarly, habitat also holds a crucial role. Wild cats are more experienced as they have been fighting predators to survive. On the other hand, domestic ones are less experienced in this sector and thus wouldn’t know what to do in these types of situations. 

How To Protect Your Cat From Owls?

How To Protect Your Cat From Owls

Even though the probability of an owl hunting down your pet cat is very low, precaution is better than cure. So here are the things you can do to protect your pet cat. 

Limit Outdoor Time 

The owls generally hunt at dusk and dawn when there is no sun above our head. So it’s best if you don’t let your cat out during this period. Moreover, even in daylight, it’s best if you are there with them to supervise and protect them.

Safe Home

Cat owners may need to settle their pets outside their house, increasing the probability of their cats being hunted by an owl. As the bird of prey generally hunts when they sleep or wake up, it’s easy for them to hunt your cat if a safe home is not provided. 

See also:  Do Owls Eat Fruit? Unveiling the Truth

Here’s a video that will help you create a safe home for your pet cat.

Nevertheless, if you have the opportunity to keep your cat indoors, make sure you do it, as it’s the best option out there. However, ensure there’s no way the cat can get outside the house during that time. 


Attaching bells to your cat’s collar is an effective method to save your cat. When the owl listens to bells, they think that we are probably here and thus won’t dare to come near your cat. 

Even if the owl tries to attack your pet, the bells would notify you instantly and scare the owl due to its loud noises.


Let’s check out some commonly asked questions regarding this topic.

Q: What species of owls are known to eat cats?

There are not many known species of owl that like to eat cats, but the Eurasian eagle owl is certainly one of them. The list also includes the Great horned owl and the barn owl.

Q: Are there any signs or indicators that an owl may be targeting a cat as prey?

Yes, if you notice an owl consistently perching near your house or in your neighborhood, especially when your cat is around. It could be a sign that they are targeting cats as potential prey.

Q: Are there any legal implications for protecting cats from owl predation?

No, there aren’t. However, some laws regarding owls in some states convey that you can’t harm an owl. These are done to protect it from being extinct.


So, do owls eat cats or not? In short, an owl will try to hunt down a cat in a rare-case scenario. This is not their primary source of food and never will be. Moreover, not all species of owls are capable of even hunting down a cat.

However, safety is always better than cure. Thus, always attach bells to your cat’s collar, provide them with a safe home, and limit their outdoor time. These should neglect even the slightest possibility of your cat getting hunted by an owl.


Peter Kaestner

Hi there, my name is Peter Kaestner and I am the owner of As a avid bird watcher and enthusiast with a passion for ornithology, I want to share my knowledge and experience with other bird lovers through this blog. As someone who regularly participates in bird-related forums and groups online, I am dedicated to helping others learn more about these amazing creatures. However, it's important to note that while I am happy to share my expertise and advice, it is always crucial to consult with an avian veterinarian before making any decisions that could potentially impact your bird's health or well-being. Your bird's health and happiness should always be your top priority, and consulting with a professional is the best way to ensure that you are making informed decisions on their behalf. I hope that through my blog, I can help make a positive difference in the lives of birds and the people who care for them. Whether you are an experienced bird owner or just starting out, I encourage you to use this resource as a way to learn more about these fascinating animals and how to provide them with the best possible care.View Author posts