Cat attacked our chicken


11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
We got our Lucy back in October and have been letting her free range around our house, however, last night she was attacked by a feral cat that's been creeping around for a few days (and who I wrongly assumed to be harmless).

I am not sure what to do now and need some advice.

She's a white leghorn, 45 weeks old. She did manage to toss the cat about a little bit, they rolled across her coop, but we didn't get out there until the cat had pinned her to the ground. She has from what I can tell a gouge in her neck and I think her wing might be broken (she won't move it and it does not feel like the other one but I can stretch it out for her and otherwise it appears to be uninjured).

I stopped the bleeding right after she was pounced on last night put a towel in a box put her on our front porch right next to the door and placed another box over the first one. I then put a couple rocks on the box flaps to keep it weighted down and (hopefully) prevent any more attacks. (I have several indoor cats and cannot bring her inside for fear of more trauma to her nerves and the risk that they might hurt her too). I also called several vets last night only one of whom would talk to me about chickens.

This morning my husband and I went to the vets office and picked up some medicine (betadine) to apply to the wound itself. When we got home we took her out of the box, and put her out in the yard - I tried to wash off some of the blood and dirt, and did a bit more thorough exam on her. Both her legs will extend fully, but is keeping one clutched (except for when I extended it). Her wings will also fully extend and occasionally she will extend the right wing, however I have yet to see her move her left wing since being injured. There are a lot of matted feathers and I cannot get all the blood to come off. I am also having trouble telling if one of her wattles has been torn or if perhaps that is the exposed wound. I am afraid to mess with the gouge too much because I don't want to cause any further pain or trauma and I don't really have any experience with animal injuries.

We have kept her in the box all last night and today with towels and warm water bottles surrounding her. However, we've had snow, sleet, rain and freezing conditions today; yesterday it was in the mid to high 60s.

She will respond somewhat by bobbing her head a little bit but most of the time she keeps it tucked down over the wound. She is weak and unable to keep her balance. Every-time I think maybe it would be more humane to to let her go she bobs her head more or opens her eyes.

What do we need to do? I've got her warm and somewhat protected, am applying antibiotics to her neck wound as best I can, and am giving her a teaspoon of Gatorade every few hours (she will not eat, I've offered her her food several times today to no avail). Should I try to make a soft mash of food and force it on her - if so what should I make and how do I make her eat??

Also, how can I clean her and the wound better? The water and washcloth is not doing a good job, but I don't want to do something and hurt her worse, but don't want to leave it as is and the wound become infected (the vet warned that the wound could abscess if antibiotics were not applied).

Or is this just a case of she can't be saved and we should let her go... I really don't want to do this, but don't want to be selfishly trying to hold on either.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. thank you all so much.
Do you have a large dog crate? If so, you can put her in there, inside, and lay a blanket over it. Do you have a garage? A heat lamp? She really needs to be kept warm right now,she is probably in shock. Gatorade is good...maybe you can hard boil an egg...smash it up really and all...offer that to her. Maybe make her some warm rice. Just plain white rice will do. You really need to get that wound cleaned out with a saline solution, and apply some neosporin. Sounds like she may need some antibiotics for that wound as well. Cat bites/scratches can get pretty nasty.
I hope she recovers well. Keep us posted.
Thank you thank you!! Hubby and I are so worried but want to do everything we can to make her as comfortable and healthy as possible.

We will definitely try to give her rice & egg. We don't have any dogs, but my grandmother does have a large dog crate we can get from her - actually will call and leave in a min to go get.

If she will not eat her on her own is there a good way for us to feed it to her ... do we just need to take small bites and place in her beak on a spoon or something else? How do you make them open their beak?

With the cat salivia - is there anything we can do? we've put both peroxide (last night / this morning) and betadine (this afternoon) on the wound and anywhere it looked like she might be injured. Is there anything else we can do in that department?

Thanks again!

when my roo was injured i gave him buttermilk and soaked it with bread and hand feed him for 4 days and he started eating on is own you should try it it helps also if the croop was damaged inside
Use an antibiotic ointment such as neosporin to help the healing process.

Did you actually see the cat attack?

A cat usually won't attck a full grown chicken unless it is insane with hunger.
I am so sorry to hear this. I have never heard of a cat attacking a chicken....Sheesh!! Are they not safe from ANYTHING??
I agree with all that has been said. If you can get her in and keep her warm, hand feeding with any number of foods will help, but only once you get her body temp up and she is no longer in shock. SO important.
You can try cooked pasta, oatmeal, cheerios..etc. Anything you can wet down to also get some much needed H2O in her body.
As much as you don't want to, you must get in there and clean her up. You can clip those feathers from the wound on her neck with scissors so you can really get it clean. Chickens and birds in general are very resillient (SP?) animals.
Please keep us posted. I will keep her in my thoughts.
It looked a lot like the cat that had been roaming around for the past couple weeks. It ran off though once it saw us - of course hubby and I were running towards it with a large stick and a golf club. The cat does have raccoon shadings and is quite furry with a wide build (though he is not at all chubby).

The predator was really to small to be a dog or coyote, and not at all dog/coyote build. Its possible it could have been a raccoon but in the six months I've been living here I have not seen one raccoon. Lots of deer, turkeys, wild birds, snakes, feral cats and dogs. I run dogs off, but I am a sucker for cats and none have so far bothered my outdoor babies.

We have not seen raccoons, possums, opossums, or really anything else other than what I mentioned above. When the animal ran away it slinked away in the fast run mode kittens do when they're in trouble. I would say I am 99.8% sure it was a feral cat. My dad was worried it might be rabid because he said most cats would never attack a chicken as big as Lucy; however, when I saw the cat earlier I did not notice any foaming or overly aggressive behavior (other than the alleged chicken attack). Dad said that he couldn't imagine it would be hungry out here with all the bugs, snakes, field mice, and small birds.

The cat has mostly seemed curious as to my indoor kitties and has been staring in at them from the back deck. I've seen him eying my Luce once, but he seemed more curious than anything no signs of aggression until we heard the squawking last night.

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