That time my cat fought off an owl in midair

Maine has a fierce predator that comes out at night. The great horned owl hunts for its prey under the dark of night and can attack and kill animals as small as a mouse or as a large as a house cat, sometimes weighing three times as much as the owl. According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife,

Most owls are nocturnal predators, with hooked bills and needle-sharp talons. They have wide wings, light bodies, and feathers specially designed to allow them to silently swoop down on prey.

With a description like that, it is no wonder they can take down Fluffy in one fell swoop. That is until one cocky owl met my cat, Francis.

Francis is a fierce hunter as well. He regularly brings home near-dead rodents, snakes, birds, and sometimes even butterflies and moths that he presents to us before he bats them around to their final – and truly gruesome – death. Franny is no Fluffy. From the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail he is four feet of badass.

So imagine our shock and dismay when we witnessed an aerial fight between our beloved punk cat and great horned owl.

This is what we think Francis saw:


This is what we think the owl saw:


This is what happened next.

My husband and I were having a night cap after the kids finally went to bed. As we stood outside in our backyard, we heard a commotion near the garage. It sounded like something big trying to eat another something big. Our rural backyard being wild America, we got excited about what was happening but couldn’t see what exactly it was.

And just as we were about to lose interest, we heard the big thing take flight in big whooshing sounds followed by the familiar yowls of our cat, Francis.

To our sheer horror, our cat was 25 feet off the ground and being flown over our garage. With giant owl talons holding him by the head and shoulders, our crazy cat flipped its hind legs up and started fighting off the owl. And then he fell from the sky and into the woodline. And everything went silent.

Of course, panic set in and we ran toward the woods to find our cat who surely used up a few of his nine lives with his impressive kung fu skills. We couldn’t find him. After a little while, we went inside to figure out what to do next.

Moments later, Francis scratched at the door. He was fine. Well, he had a bloody head, but like The Black Night from Monty Python, it was just a flesh wound. With minimal patching up and a trip to our vet, he was as good as new.

Incidentally, we haven’t seen that owl back since. We think it is because he remembers Francis like this: