People are reporting to Facebook and social media apps such as NextDoor that coyotes are eating neighborhood cats.
A few neighbors said they saw coyotes roaming the area of Santa Maria near the Santa Maria Country Club and in Orcutt near Harmony Lane and Sunny Hills.
Two years ago, Tim Pyle lost his cat to a coyote.
"5 in the morning we heard a big commotion, kind of the high pitch squeal of coyotes and then people down the street told us they saw a coyote taking the cat away. We put two and two together," said Pyle, who lives in Santa Maria.
Stacy Silva, Community Outreach Director of Santa Barbara Animal Services, says there’s been an increase of coyote sighting reports as well as missing cats.
While not all missing cats can be linked to coyote attacks, Silva thinks coyotes are losing hunting grounds because people are building homes in coyotes’ natural habitat.
"As that development occurs, those coyotes are losing out on their food source. They are going to be seeking other ways to thrive and survive,’ said Silva. "They are going to become more urban."?
A photo of a coyote (Courtesy Santa Barbara Animal Services)
Animal Services advises people to bring their cats inside especially during dawn and dusk hours when coyotes are most active.
Fish and Wildlife added that it is important to bring food back in the house if you are feeding feral cat communities.
You should file a report with Animal Services, post on social media, and put up fliers if you think your pet is missing.