Coyotes in Kenmore stalk homeowners’ pets

Monique Kebbe wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary when a coyote claimed the life of her cat Elsie last year.

Death of a pet prompts Kebbe into action

Monique Kebbe wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary when a coyote claimed the life of her cat Elsie last year.

That’s exactly why things went wrong, she says.

The Kenmore resident was going about her usual morning business — waking up at 5 a.m. and letting her pets out for the day around dawn — when the incident occurred.

She saw Elsie gripped in the jaws of a coyote as she was making her bed.

Kebbe yelled and banged her fist on the window, causing the predator to drop its catch and run away. But the damage was already done. Elsie was dead.

“I blame myself for not keeping her safe,” Kebbe said. “If I had known there were coyotes, she would never have been let outside at 5 a.m. A simple change in routine would have made all the difference.”

Elsie’s death wasn’t an isolated incident. Several other coyote attacks have occurred in Kebbe’s neighborhood.

Neal Ratti claims he’s seen at least three cats hauled off in the area during the past two years. One of them was his own.

“I thought it was a few unfortunate incidents, but it seems to be recurring on a regular basis,” he said.

Kebbe herself spotted a coyote prancing across the street with a cat in its mouth after “barking and other strange sounds” woke her two weeks ago around 3 a.m.

Another family in the neighborhood claims to have lost a feline friend to an attack last summer.

Coyotes aren’t rare in the Northshore area, despite its residential setting.

“They’ve probably been here for quite awhile,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Russell Link. “They’re generalists, so they exist all over the place.

“They’re likely to adapt rather than get pushed out when development happens around them.”

Coyotes are hunter-scavengers that eat a wide range of foods including fruit, garbage and any small animals they can capture, according to experts.

One of the keys to avoiding trouble is keeping pets indoors — especially from dusk to dawn, when stalking activity is most likely to take place.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends eliminating potential food sources such as fallen fruit or unsecured garbage and compost.

There were no documented incidents of coyotes attacking humans in the state of Washington until 2006, when two children were bitten in Bellevue with their parents nearby.

Authorities later euthanized the suspected culprits.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests preparing children for possible encounters by teaching them to act as big, mean and loud as possible.

Yelling “go away coyote” works best, as opposed to general screams, because it alerts adults to what is happening, according to the department.

Kebbe no longer lets her cats outside until dawn has passed, and she plans to distribute fliers that will help neighbors avoid attacks on their pets.

“I don’t want the neighborhood cats to become prey,” she said. “It’s devastating to lose a beloved pet.”

Kebbe and her husband currently have five cats. One of them came to the couple as a stray on the day Elsie was killed.

They named him Sudden because of the way he arrived in their lives.

For additional information about preventing coyote attacks, visit