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How Far Away Can A Coyote Smell A Cat [ Real Story OF Coyote ]

Coyotes are known for their exceptional sense of smell. It’s said that a coyote can detect the scent of a cat from up to a mile away. This highly acute sense of smell is part of what makes them such efficient predators, especially when it comes to smaller animals like cats. Coyotes are canine family members; like dogs, they have a keen sense of smell.

Their sense of smell is so strong that they can even detect the scent of a buried animal from a considerable distance, showcasing their ability to track down potential meals. One study published in the journal Animal Behavior found that coyotes could detect cats as far as 588 feet away. This is a testament to the coyote’s impressive capabilities in tracking through scent.

It’s also worth noting that cats can often sense the presence of coyotes, relying on their keen senses to detect potential threats. The coyote’s powerful sense of smell is crucial to their survival and hunting success.

Can a Cat Fight Off a Coyote?

Cats have keen senses, including smell and sound, which they use to detect potential threats like coyotes. However, cats are typically at a disadvantage regarding physical confrontations.

Coyotes are significantly larger and faster – they can run about 40 mph, a speed no domestic cat can match.

However, there are steps cat owners can take to protect their pets. Bright lights, for example, can scare off coyotes. Also, soaking rags or clothing with ammonia and hanging them in your yard can be effective, as coyotes dislike the smell of ammonia.

It’s also advisable to secure food sources, as the scent of food can attract coyotes from considerable distances. Keeping cats indoors, especially at night when coyotes are most active, can also significantly reduce the risk of encounters. If cats are outside, providing them with a safe space they can retreat to, like a secure barn, can offer protection.

How to Protect Your Cats from Coyotes?

can a cat survive a coyote attack

Coyotes have a keen sense of smell and can detect a cat from a significant distance.

Here are some strategies to help protect your feline friends from these predators.

Keep your Cat Indoors:

The simplest way to protect your cat from coyotes is by keeping them indoors, especially at night when coyotes are most active. This eliminates the chance of a coyote catching your cat’s scent.

Keeping your beloved feline friends indoors is one of the best ways to protect them from coyotes. Cats are naturally curious creatures and love to explore their surroundings, but the outside world can pose many dangers, including the threat of coyotes. Coyotes are known to be opportunistic predators and small pets like cats can unfortunately become their prey.

Secure Outdoor Spaces:

If your cat enjoys spending time outdoors, ensure your garden or yard is securely fenced. The fence should be high enough (at least 6 feet) to prevent coyotes from jumping over.

Consider installing roller bars or coyote rollers on top of the fence, which makes it difficult for coyotes to gain a grip and climb over.

Don’t Attract Coyotes:

Food is a major attractant for coyotes, so pet food is not left outside. The aroma of food can travel great distances and may lure coyotes into your yard. Similarly, secure your trash cans, as they can also serve as a food source for these opportunistic animals.

Put Lights Outside:

Having a well-lit yard also gives you a better view of the area. This can help you spot any potential danger before letting your cat out. Remember to turn these lights on, especially during the early morning and late evening when coyotes are most active.

Another idea is to have a light near the ‘catio’ or your cat’s outdoor space. This not only deters coyotes but also allows you to keep a better eye on your cat when they are outside.

Do Coyotes Kill Cats Quickly

do coyotes kill cats quickly

Coyotes, being wild predators, have been known to prey on small animals, including cats. Their hunting style is quick and efficient, which can sometimes result in the unfortunate event of a cat getting killed quickly.

However, it’s important to note that not every encounter between a coyote and a cat leads to such a dire outcome. Cats are agile and quick, with sharp claws for defense.

Nevertheless, the risk exists, and as responsible pet owners, we must take preventative measures.

Keeping your cat indoors, especially during dawn and dusk when coyotes are most active, is one of the most effective ways to ensure their safety.

Engaging in toys and activities can help satisfy your cat’s natural outdoor cravings while keeping them safe from potential threats like coyotes.

Other Animals That Coyotes Can Detect

Coyotes can detect various animals with their remarkable sense of smell and sharp hearing. This includes rabbits, rodents like mice and squirrels, birds, and even larger animals like deer. Their keen senses make them efficient predators in their natural habitats.

Coyotes can pick up the scent of these creatures from considerable distances, which aids them in tracking and hunting. They also can detect other predators in their territory, such as wolves or bears, which helps them avoid potential threats.

However, it’s not just wild animals that coyotes can detect. They’ve been known to venture into urban areas, where they can detect domestic animals like cats and dogs.

This adaptability is one reason coyotes survive in diverse environments, from forests and plains to suburban backyards.


In conclusion, the remarkable olfactory abilities of a coyote allow it to detect a cat from significant distances. This highlights the importance of taking necessary precautions to protect our pets from potential threats.

While not every encounter between a coyote and a cat results in a tragic outcome, the risk is undeniable. We can significantly reduce this risk by keeping our cats indoors, especially when coyotes are most active.

Understanding the capabilities of wildlife like coyotes helps us coexist better with them, ensuring safety for all parties involved. It’s a fascinating testament to these adaptable predators’ survival skills and a reminder of our responsibility as pet owners to keep our furry friends safe.


What is the range of a coyote smell?

A coyote’s sense of smell is incredibly strong, and they can detect scents from up to a mile away and, in some conditions, even up to two miles. However, this can vary depending on factors such as wind direction and the type of scent.

Are coyotes afraid of cats?

No, coyotes are not typically afraid of cats. They may see them as easy prey, particularly if the cat is unprotected outdoors. However, it’s worth noting that domestic cats often avoid areas where coyotes live to reduce the risk of encounters.

What smell attracts coyotes?

Coyotes are attracted to various smells. They are instinctively drawn to the scent of carrion (dead animals) and blood. Specific lures, such as coyote urine or gland lures, are also used to attract other coyotes. Additionally, curiosity lures that have an unusual smell can attract coyotes.

Can coyotes smell better than dogs?

Coyotes are believed to have a stronger sense of smell than most domestic dogs. This enhanced olfactory capability aids them in hunting and surviving in the wild. However, the exact comparison can vary since the sense of smell can differ greatly among different breeds of dogs.

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