Is it legal to kill a cat if...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Peep and Squash, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. Peep and Squash

    Peep and Squash Just Hatched

    Jun 8, 2014
    Hi, I posted a few days back about my other of two roosters that was killed by what at the time I perceived to be a possum, but I'm not so sure anymore. I came home this past Monday to find the gruesome scene of my other rooster, Squash, his cold lifeless body frozen to the ground and the extent of the attack was his throat and neck were cut open and picked apart with the feathers on his neck ripped out and his head and face chewed until unrecognizable as my own Squash with his comb, waddles, and eyes gone. In the heat of the moment when I saw a possum crossing the yard the opposite direction, I shot and killed it. I felt temporarily that justice had been served but Now I'm not so sure. We live in a rural area just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It's a long, nearly 2 mile road with maybe a mere 25 houses on it. We have 2 acres, our next door neighbor has 5 and the field next to us is 18. People just let their animals kind of roam wild around here, Dogs, cats, even peacocks and chickens. I've had multiple experiences with cats. About 6months ago, we had different next door neighbors, they had an orange young cat who was the nicest little guy, I thought was a stray until i saw him in their yard. I have seen multiple cats that I'm sure were feral in our front yard with at least 3 or 4 kittens following and they all grew up because i once caught them tormenting our roosters. I also had a scary experience after my first rooster Peep died, Squash was sleeping in his coop when i went to lock him up, unbeknown to me, a cat was cuddling with him, before I could slide the door shut, a cat came charging out and almost gave me a heart attack. Now I just hot home from work, got out of my truck, Walked around the side of my house to the back and knew I saw movement at the now vacant chicken coop in the pitch blackness, not to brag but I have 20-10 vision and am a hunter, so i can pick out the littlest things of movement in the shadows. I stood still for a minute and waited, and slowly I saw a creature crawling along and it hid behind a tree. At that moment the motion sensor light came on and exposed just beyond sight, the outline of a cat's head peeking from behind a tree. It slowly kept out and then i bolted after it and it ran around the front yard and out of sight. When i got home the previous day, I also saw the same large creature in my yard in broad daylight but by the time I ran out to the back with the gun ready for what I thought was a possum, was only a rabbit far off. I have no idea if what I saw was a house cat because if it was it was about 3 times as large as a normal house cat, it was very large, unnaturally large for a house cat. It did not have a collar, so if it was, I don't know also if it was a feral or domestic cat, but by the way it was so sneaky and skittish, I don't think It acted very tame. It would be a slim to none chance that there is a bobcat or lynx in this area, so I was debating n whether to trap it, just wait until I see it again to shoot it, but then the question came up, when is it legal to kill a cat? If it were feral or tame? Does that matter? If it killed my livestock/pets? If it's trespassing and disturbing my property. Not that I would want to kill it but, If I am to get more chickens this spring, they will not fall victim to some entitled neighborhood bully. Please help and let me know what the laws say because all I could find was about dogs, nothing on cats, and for all I know it could have been a racoon, but I'm almost positive it was a giant feral cat. Maybe someone could even tell me by the style of attack what it was because the description sounds like a racoon, but a possum was at the scene of the crime, running away and killed, and now a giant cat sneaking around my chicken coop and yard for more than a day? What killed my chicken, Was the killing of the possum justified, and can I kill this cat in these circumstances if it appears again?
    Thanks a ton
    Sincerely, M4 EnthUZIast
    P.S. Sorry I really tend to ramble a lot, for just small questions. and what should be small posts.
  2. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    The laws vary from state to state and also county. Generally if an animal(any type I presume) is killing your stock, you have a right to kill them, catch them and drop off at some animal shelter or see if animal control would remove if you trapped them. It's best to know your legal rights first. Best if you could get photo of the predator and victim. If you have a game cam you might be able to catch the pred on film - which is the best evidence.

    Maybe the animal control office, police, or town hall could tell you what your rights are. Makes copies if possible - I wouldn't sign them but, put on neighbor's mailboxes as a warning of your rights to protect your stock.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    I have no idea where you live. You need to ask people like: animal control, Game and Fish etc. about the laws in your area.

    Where I live... in New Mexico... there really aren't any laws about domestic cats. However there are a ton of laws about bobcats, lynx and mountain lions. It kind of depends on what you saw; I expect you know it's easy to be fooled. Getting a game cam photo would be ideal, then you would know for sure... or did you check for giant cat tracks? If it's a super-large domestic cat it would leave big footprints.

    I'm really sorry about your chickens, that is so horrible to lose them to a predator. I hope you can solve the mystery.
    1 person likes this.
  4. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK

    I don't know about the legalities of killing a cat in your area but I have read several threads where the exact mode of death and carcass damage is caused by hawks.... not sure if that is a possibility where you live, but something else to consider.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Wanttoknow

    Wanttoknow Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 1, 2014
    My experience with cats is that a full grown chicken is a challenge for them. Younger birds are easy prey. If you are losing multiples I would tend to think that it isn't a domestic cat.
    It would be best to be certain before you go blowing away someone's feline pal. There are some who would not consider that neighborly without at least a warning and will possibly escalate the whole thing.
    1 person likes this.
  6. jolenejellybean

    jolenejellybean Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2015
    Upstate NY
    In NY, it is legal to kill any predators that you catch in the act of harming or attempting to harm your livestock. The local animal control officer is an option if you suspect someone's pet.
    1 person likes this.
  7. Lady Watcher

    Lady Watcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2016
    Yeah, there's a cat problem around me, and my hens beat them up!
    1 person likes this.
  8. Lilki

    Lilki Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2016
    I've never had problems with cats going after my flock- they're just too big. Personally I wouldn't shoot my neighbor's cat.
    1 person likes this.
  9. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    I would get a game camera so you can know for sure what is killing your roosters. If it is a cat, I would try and trap it and bring it to a shelter. Do you have a picture of the at in question? Could it be a bobcat?

    Here's my barn cat Salt.


    Here's a young bobcat.


    Here's an adult bobcat. Very well could be the same cat, pics are 2 years apart.

    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by