Will Cats Kill Chickens?

Like other felines, cats have a predatory instinct, so they can potentially kill your chickens. Domestic cats rarely attack or kill adult chickens, but these felines severely threaten baby chicks and juvenile chickens.

Stray cats are the biggest threat to urban chicken raisers. They usually stalk and kill adult and baby chickens whenever they are starving.

Cats as Predators

Both domestic and outdoor cats are skilled predators. Stray cats living close to human-populated areas prey on many animals, especially chickens and smaller rodents.

A cat has a strong predatory instinct, and the feline can prey on birds, reptiles, and small mammals.

Cats are predators and carnivores, making them natural hunters. A cat’s hunting instinct is a part of its brain. Both domestic and wild cats are predatory animals, meaning they can hunt for food.

Like other members of the diverse cat family, cats have a natural hunting instinct. Cats are excellent at killing and stalking their prey. The mere sound and sight of prey can trigger your cat’s natural hunting instinct.

Your feline can’t resist the scuttling feet of smaller rodents and your chicken’s flapping wings.

Simply put, hunting is normal and natural for cats. Cats get a lot of pleasure and stimulation from hunting. Because of their hunting instincts, all domestic or wild cats are excellent hunters.

Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Cats

Many pet owners think the only difference between outdoor cats and indoor cats is their environment because indoor cats live in homes or houses, while outdoor ones live in outdoor areas.

However, there are other differences between outdoor and indoor cats. For instance, outdoor cats can access various prey, including rodents, smaller mammals, birds, and smaller reptiles.

Indoor cats have access to few preys. Although outdoor cats and their indoor counterparts are potential predators, outdoor cats are potential prey to multiple predatory animals, such as dogs, coyotes, and foxes.

Outdoor cats are more skilled hunters than indoor cats.

Understanding a cat’s natural behavior is critical, especially if you have chickens in your yard. For instance, it helps you evaluate your feline’s natural hunting instinct to tell whether it can prey on your birds.

It also allows you to identify and discourage unacceptable cat behaviors, such as aggression, biting, stalking, and scratching.

Chickens as Prey

Unlike cats, chickens have a natural prey instinct wired in their brains. Chickens are defenseless, which is why they are susceptible to many predators, including birds of the air, foxes, cats, and dogs.

They are wary of their vulnerability, so they try their best to avoid predators.

Chickens are complex and fascinating creatures. Although chickens are friendly, they are naturally inclined to defend themselves against creatures. Roosters, for instance, guard chickens and alert them of danger.

The chickens then respond to the roosters’ warning by seeking protection from the enemy. Chickens are wary of their safety, so they retreat to their cages immediately after dusk sets in.

They know they are most vulnerable to predators at night since they can’t see or indulge in any activity. These birds will wake up in the morning when dawn sets in, and they usually wait for the head rooster to crow and then jump out of their cages.

Because chickens are gregarious, they live together in flocks as they forage for food and watch out for potential predators.

Differences Between Domesticated and Wild Chickens

Wild chickens and domesticated chickens have common behaviors. However, these two fowls have some differences. For instance, wild chickens forage in flocks and roost in bushes to avoid the marauding predators at night.

Domesticated chickens are also gregarious and prefer to live in flocks. However, domestic chickens roost in coops and enclosed spaces at night to avoid potential predators.

Wild chickens are more vulnerable to predators than their domestic counterparts. Wild chickens are more alert to predators than domestic chickens.

Furthermore, wild chickens live in social groups headed by a dominant cockerel. These groups also have several hens, baby chicks, juvenile chickens, and subordinate cocks.

Domesticated wild chickens have a complex social behavior consisting of a dominant hierarchy whereby higher-ranking birds dominate subordinate birds.

Domestic chickens adhere to a pecking order. Dominant roosters protect the hens and the entire flock in every group of domestic chickens.

Chickens are Vulnerable

Chicken owners need to understand the vulnerability of their birds. Understanding their chickens’ vulnerability can help them figure out how to protect their chickens from marauding predators.

It can also help them know when their birds are most vulnerable to predators, such as cats.

Factors that Influence the Likelihood of a Cat Killing a Chicken

Not every cat can kill chickens, even though cats have a predatory instinct. Some factors may influence the possibility of a cat killing chickens.

The factors that influence the likelihood of a cat killing a chicken include:

  • Cat’s age-Older cats are more skilled hunters than junior cats. So the likelihood of an older cat killing a chicken is higher than the possibility of a younger cat killing a chicken.
  • Breed- A cat’s breed can influence its likelihood of killing a fowl. Some aggressive breeds, like the Bombay cat, Scottish Fold, and Bengal cat, are ferocious and highly likely to kill a chicken. However, some least aggressive cat breeds are unlikely to harm or kill a chicken. Some non-aggressive cats that won’t bother your chickens include the Maine Coon, the Himalayan cat, Ragdoll, and the Persian cat.
  • Individual personality– Some cats have a calm nature despite their inborn predatory behavior, so they are less likely to kill your chickens. Other cats, however, have an aggressive personality that prompts them to kill chickens and other domestic fowl.

Factors that Increase the Likelihood of a Chicken Becoming Cat Prey

  • Chicken’s age– Cats usually prey on baby chicks and juvenile chickens. Most cats won’t dare to attack or kill a rooster or an adult chicken.
  • Breed– Some chicken breeds are calm and pretty timid. Cochins, Rhode Islands Reds, and Wyandottes are some of the timidest breeds prone to cat attacks. However, aggressive breeds like Dorking, Malay, and Asil chickens can confront a ferocious cat, making them less vulnerable to cat attacks.
  • Individual personality- a chicken’s personality can influence its possibility of being attacked by a cat. An aggressive chicken is less likely to succumb to cat attacks, while a docile chicken is likely to be attacked and killed by a ferocious cat.

The environment in which the cat and chicken interact can influence the likelihood of a cat killing a chicken. For instance, cats living with chickens are less likely to kill chickens.

Indoor cats are also less likely to kill chickens, unlike their outdoor counterparts. Outdoor cats rarely interact with chickens, so they view chickens as potential prey.

How to Prevent Cats from Killing Chickens

Below are some simple tricks to prevent cats from killing your chickens.

Building a Secure Chicken Coop

Indoor cats are notorious for breaking into chicken coops and killing chickens. Building a secure chicken coop is vital to deter cats from getting into the cage and killing your fowl.

Ensure the chicken coop has a safe door and sturdy chicken wire since feral cats can use loose doors and flimsy chicken wire to get into the cage.

Training Your Cats to Leave Chickens Alone

Cats sometimes attack and kill chickens because of curiosity and their predatory instincts.

You can train your cats from an early age not to bother your chickens. Discourage the cats from seeing your chickens as potential prey.

Supervising Cats and Chickens when They are Together

Free-range chickens usually live together with outdoor cats. Consequently, cats can quickly kill free-range chickens because they aren’t always under your watch.

Monitor your chickens whenever they are outside there with felines. Your cats won’t bother the chickens once they know you are monitoring them.

How to Protect Chickens from Cats

Here are some simple things every chicken raiser should do to protect their chickens from ferocious cats.

  • Keep your chickens away from cats– Lock the chickens in a secure coop if you notice some feral cats preying on the birds.
  • Stop your chickens from going near cats– You should always have a barrier to stop your chickens from going near ferocious cats.
  • Monitor your chickens– Keep monitoring your chickens while free-ranging to ensure feral cats don’t ambush the birds.

What to do if a Cat Kills a Chicken?

The best solution to dealing with a killer cat preying on your chickens is to execute the feline.

A killer cat won’t stop killing chickens but will be a serial chicken killer that can eliminate your flock.


Cats are potential chicken killers. Felines will most likely kill baby chicks and juvenile chooks. Some ferocious cats can also kill adult chickens.

Since you can’t stop a cat’s predatory behavior, keeping your chickens safe from these terrible predators is the ultimate way to protect your flock from cats.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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