Cat killed in Moorings neighborhood; owners suspect coyote

Coyote kills cat in East Naples

Pet owners on alert.

Coyote attacks cat in East Naples

— Dianna Purciello's husband knew something was wrong when he went outside last Saturday morning and saw the cushion the family cat sleeps on dragged halfway down the driveway.

Salem, a 20-pound black cat, was dead in the neighbor's yard in the Moorings neighborhood. The Purciellos say a coyote is to blame.

A half-dozen similar deadly attacks on cats in the neighborhood have pet owners on guard and frustrated, Moorings Property Owners Association President Albert Katz said.

"We've got them," Katz said. "They're around."

The incidents in the Moorings follow a string of coyote sighting earlier this year in the Lake Park neighborhood on the other side of U.S. 41 North.

Later Saturday, when Purciello tried to round up three other cats to keep them inside, one of them got spooked and ran off, she wrote in an email.

That's when she locked eyes with a coyote standing in an empty lot, about 50 feet from their driveway, she wrote. The coyote was about the size of a German shepherd but thinner.

The encounter did not surprise Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Capt. Jayson Horadam, he said.

Unless the coyote appears to lose its fear of humans or becomes aggressive, pet attacks "aren't an issue for us," he said. The solution is in the pet owners' hands, he said.

Cats and dogs should be fed indoors, experts say. If they are fed outdoors, dishes should be promptly removed. Food should be kept inside.

Pets shouldn't be allowed to roam free. When walking a dog, use a leash and avoid areas with dense vegetation. Avoid walking pets at dawn or dusk.

Carry a walking stick or cane that could be used to fend off an attack. If approached by a coyote, try to frighten it by shouting in a deep voice, waving your arms or throwing objects. Look it directly in the eye.

If wearing a coat, spread it open like a cape to appear larger and slowly walk backward and away from the encounter, experts say.

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