Cat saved from jaws of a coyote

Noonies was still in critical condition at Canada West Veterinary Specialists in Vancouver on Monday after being attacked by a coyote last Wednesday. - Angela Greene/Contributed
Noonies was still in critical condition at Canada West Veterinary Specialists in Vancouver on Monday after being attacked by a coyote last Wednesday.
— image credit: Angela Greene/Contributed

A Burnaby woman is warning pet owners to stay vigilant after she rescued her cat from the jaws of a coyote recently.

It happened about 4 a.m. on July 3, about a half hour after Angela Greene called her cat, Noonies, to come inside to her condo near Lougheed mall. It was rare for him to not come right away but she believed it was a safe neighbourhood for the 12-year-old feline, a quiet place with lots of other friendly cats that roam around at night.

Greene figures Noonies had sauntered back to the patio of her condo when she heard it from her bedroom: "a big kerfuffle on my patio and I knew it was my cat and I knew it was major and he was in trouble."

Her reaction was instant.

"I just got up and ran out of bed into the night," she recalled. "Thankfully, there was several different directions I could've gone but I just went in a direction and … I kind of came around a corner and saw a coyote."

The coyote, about the size of a small German shepherd dog, had Noonies' mouth in its head. The cat was "dangling there very loosely. It was just a horrific sight."

Greene shouted a sharp "hey" at the coyote before lunging at it.

"I think the combination of my lunging and hollering at the same time scared it … He dropped Noonies almost into my arms and ran."

She scooped her cat into her chest and ran home at breakneck speed.

Once inside she could see "we were both just completely covered in blood, my condo was covered with blood, there was just blood everywhere." Several days and a thorough cleaning later, Greene said she's still coming across droplets of blood she missed.

Along with the blood, Noonies was wheezing. Greene quickly got him into his kennel and rushed to the 24-hour vet clinic, Canada West Veterinary Specialists in Vancouver where he remains in critical condition.

Noonies has since had surgery for a broken jaw, and on Monday was awaiting surgery for a crushed ear canal. He's also recovering from several head lacerations and is eating through a feeding tube.

The bill is estimated at $10,000 to $13,000, "certainly a bill I couldn't afford to pay," she said.

Fortunately, the veterinarians at the clinic have agreed to waive the bill. "I'm just eternally grateful to them, I can't thank them enough. Without them, Noonies would not be here."

She's been visiting Noonies daily, and her pet responds to her voice by raising his head, bumping his forehead into hers and purring. "If I stop [petting and talking to him] for a couple of minutes he starts nudging me to keep going … It's really encouraging to see that."

Now that she's had time to think, she's working through some of the "terrifying experience," including the belief when she was running home with her cat in her arms that she could smell the coyote near them.

She realizes now that the smell was that of the coyote's saliva on Noonie's head.

Greene doesn't think she'll be letting Noonies out again once he gets home from the animal hospital.

"I do know I don't feel safe letting him out in light of what's happened."

She's also warning pet owners to keep an eye on their pets and to bring them in at night.

"I just never in a million years would've thought that a coyote would've come up onto my patio."

Something needs to be done to address the increasingly common issue of coyotes attacking small dogs and cats, she said, adding she doesn't have the answers but believes there needs to be a public discussion of what can be done.

"I live close to a mall and the SkyTrain. If it can happen in an urbanized area like that it can happen anywhere."

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