Big cats would rather not work too hard for their meals, apparentlyresearch shows many are incorporating easier-to-catch pets into their diets.
Getty ImagesCalifornia mountain lions have been eating cats and dogs fairly regularly, a study conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) found, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Of the 107 mountain lions that were killed in 2015 with special depredation permits, the stomach contents of 83 were analyzed, and 52 percent had eaten cats, dogs or other domestic animals.
Deer, which is supposedly mountain lion's favorite prey though they're harder to catch than a house pet, had only been eaten by 5 percent of the cats studied. Of the remaining mountain lions in the report, 16 percent weren't studied, 9 percent had empty stomachs and the stomach contents of 18 percent were too digested to be identified, the Chronicle states. Hypothetically, if pets could also account for a portion of the diet in the 18 percent of cats whose diet couldn't be digested, then more than 60 percent of the cats had turned to domestic animals as a food source.
The DFW told the Chronicle that though the report verified a high incidence of mountain lions eating pets, coyotes and other predators also attack and eat pets at high levels. The agency also cautioned pet owners to keep their cats indoors and to leash dogs when outside in areas near open space, and to monitor them in the backyard late at night.