Can Hawks Eat Cats? Here’re The Facts!

If you have a kitty and live in an area that isn’t free of predator birds, you might be wondering if hawks can eat cats. There are some interesting facts about this!

Protecting your cat from any predator isn’t an easy job. They like to explore and are usually up for the challenge if something threatens them. 

IMPORTANT: At, we regularly consult with licensed veterinarians and other industry experts. However, the information found on should not be viewed as veterinary advice. We do our best to help you better understand your cats, but the information on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance.

In this article, I answer whether hawks can eat cats and why they’d choose to attack your pet. I also give you some tips to protect your kitty!

Can Hawks Eat Cats?

Yes, hawks can attack and eat cats. 

Hawks are raptor birds that hunt for food. They’re speedy and very good at gliding and hovering. A hawk can easily catch a small cat, carry them away and devour their flesh. It might sound gory, but it’s happened before! 

A hawk will have difficulty flying with a large cat, so if your cat is on the bigger side, they’ll be fine. Hawks only attack and eat cats on rare occasions because they aren’t part of their regular diet. They typically target weak cats, kittens, and cats that are already dead. 

Why Do Hawks Attack Cats?

 How big of a cat can a hawk pick up?

Hunger: Hawks will attack cats if there is no other food available. Because cats don’t form part of their natural diet, a hawk generally won’t prey on your kitty unless they’re starving. If they searched for food for a while and a cat appeared, they would probably attack. 

Territory: Hawks may also attack your cat if they’re roaming too close to its nest or threatening it or its babies in any way. They will attack in self-defense and try to kill your pet. 

What Do Hawks Usually Eat?

Hawks tend to eat small mammals and reptiles, including:

  • Birds
  • Insects
  • Lizards
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Squirrels

How To Protect Your Cat From A Hawk

Supervise Your Cat

It may sound like a hard task, but try to supervise your cat whenever they go outside. Sit on a chair or stand around while they play. A hawk typically won’t attack if they see a large threat nearby (you), and even if they do, you’ll be able to scare them away. Try to stand in clear vision of the hawk so they’ll detour and search for another meal. 

 How do I protect my cat from hawks?

Add Reflectors to Your Garden

Use reflector tape or pieces of glass in your garden. These will confuse a hawk, and they won’t know where to land.

Feed Your Cat Indoors.

If you feed your cat outside, a hawk has two reasons to land in your backyard. Keep cat food and cats inside during meal time. This way, a hawk won’t be attracted to your cat or their food!

Don’t Leave Junk in Your Yard

Junk and long grass or any other things lying around will attract snakes, rodents, and pests. Hawks consider these a five-star meal, so try to keep your garden area clean at all times. If your garden has nothing attracting a hawk to it, you won’t have a problem!

Use Hawk Deterrents

Owl statues, motion detection sprinklers, and lights are good hawk deterrents. A hawk will think you have real owls in the backyard, and the motion detection devices will fright them when they come too close.

 How long do hawks stay in one area?

Decide Against Bird Feeders

Bird feeders may lure hawks because they’ll be after the birds that come by to eat. If you have a whole sanctuary of birds flying around in your garden, a hawk will be more interested in the menu and have a reason to stop by. 

What To Do If A Hawk Attacked Your Cat

If you hear your cat’s cry for help and realize that a hawk attacked them, you should start by examining your pet for any external injuries. Even if you notice none, take them to the vet for an examination of internal ones.  

You can also offer your cat some food and water since they might be in shock and quite rattled after the whole experience.

Can Cats Fight Against A Hawk?

Your cat will probably try to fight against a hawk by scratching and biting back, but depending on the situation, they rarely stand a chance. If a hawk picks your cat up and they have no way of moving, they won’t be able to fight back.

Cats have a natural instinct to fight when they’re in danger, and their sharp teeth and long nails come in handy for this. Unfortunately, if your kitty is still small, weak, or in a bad position, a hawk will have the upper hand. 

In Conclusion

If you know there are hawks in your area, you should do what you can to protect your cats. They might seem tough eating a bug, but your kitty will be pretty fragile against a hawk. 

I hope you found the safety tips in this article helpful and that you’ll set some measures up to protect your kitty. If you’ve tried any other things to keep predators away from your cat, share them in the comments! You can also ask your questions, and I’ll get back to you soon.


How do I protect my cat from hawks?

The best way to protect your cat from a hawk attack is by staying with them whenever they're outside. If you live in an area with hawks, you can build a safe outside enclosure for your cat to play in unattended.

How big of a cat can a hawk pick up?

Hawks can pick up cats weighing between 1 and 5 pounds, depending on their own size.

What time of day do hawks hunt?

Hawks prefer hunting at dusk or dawn but never at night. They have excellent eyesight, giving them an advantage over prey who can't see as well at these times.

How long do hawks stay in one area?

Hawks have a lot of patience and will stay in one area for up to 8 hours. Unless they feel threatened or have a nest to protect, they won't move.