'I didn't think she was going to make it': North Van cat rescued from coyote's 'death grip'
Luna, a two-year-old cat, is lucky to be alive after a coyote attack in North Vancouver in June, 2020. (Submitted)
VANCOUVER -- A two-year-old cat is lucky to be alive after she was rescued from a coyote attack late last month.
Marc Verhiel let his two cats and his son's cat, Luna, outside early one morning in late June, when he noticed something wasn't right.
"My other two cats came in and I knew something was wrong," he said.
Verhiel said he looked outside his bedroom window to see a coyote snatch Luna in its mouth.
"I immediately ran downstairs and by the time I got outside where she was, the coyote had taken her across our driveway," he said.
"I ran towards her, scared it off, the coyote dropped her and I picked her up and I could see she was in a bad way."
He rushed Luna, who suffered a dislocated jaw, fractured skull, severe head trauma and shock, to a Vancouver vet hospital.
"I didn't think she was going to make it. Bad 2020 was about to get worse, I thought," he said. "If I was about five, 10 seconds later I think she probably would have been dead."
But miraculously, Luna has been recovering well.
Dr. Carsten Bandt, who works at Canada West Veterinary Specialists, says these coyote attacks aren't uncommon.
"Accidents like these happen, unfortunately, and we do live in an area where we do have predators around," he said.
Bandt explained that this time of year, coyotes have their pups and increase their food intake.
"But cats are always on the menu for them," he said. "So it's not just this season."
The best advice he has for cat owners, he said, is to keep their pet inside. Dog owners should keep their pets on a leash.
For anyone who does encounter a coyote, the BC SPCA says it's best to wave your arms or a stick and make noise.
Pick up small children or pets, the SPCA says, and don't run away because that could encourage the coyote to chase you. Instead, make eye contact with the animal and move away slowly.
After his coyote encounter, Verhiel said he's happy he gave Luna the chance to recover.
"It's been a miracle, actually," he said. "Don't give up on your pets if they're injured."