WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) – Fisher cats could be responsible for a wave of missing-pet reports in Westerly, officials say.
Westerly Animal Control officer Thomas Gulluscio told Eyewitness News that he has received 14 reports of missing cats in July and suspects fisher cats are to blame.
Five of those reports have come in just the past few days, he said.
Fisher cats have been in the area for a long time and prey on small wildlife, but have been known to attack pets as well – Gulluscio says he’s received at least one report of a fisher that was spotted running off with a pet in its mouth.
The only real defense, he said, is vigilance: secure bird feeders and outdoor trash, and keep a close eye on your pets when they go outside. Birds aren’t eating from feeders in the summer months, he said, but other animals like squirrels are – fisher cats prey on them, and will therefore be attracted to an area in which they are plentiful. Unattended pets – especially pets that don’t usually spend much time outside – are at risk, so watch them carefully if you do let them outside, he warned.
It’s possible that coyotes may also have something to do with the disappearances of local pets, but the chances of that are much smaller, Gulluscio said, since coyotes tend to be more skittish and reluctant to approach people.