Silver Lake cat killed in suspected coyote attack

Photo courtesy Jennifer Donnelian

Jennifer Donnelian and Debe Waisman of Silver Lake are advising neighborhood cat owners to take extra precautions to protect their pets against coyote attacks after their cat, Claude, was found decapitated on Friday in the backyard of a neighbor’s home in the 700 block of LaFayette Park Place. Said Donnelian in an email:

We were told it was likely a coyote attack. This is a personal tragedy and we are deeply, deeply saddened and would like to ensure that pet owners are aware and take extra precautions in the Silverlake/Echo Park area. [Claude] was abandoned and we rescued him in Dec. 2010. He was the sweetest, most grateful and cool cat.”


  1. Condolances on your loss, Jennifer. Truely awful thing to see and go through.

    I see coyotes on our stair street pretty often at night; best cat owners take their animals inside after sundown.

  2. I know..this is bad and not getting better..I’m on Maltman and while taking my dogs out at night..I have to make sure its safe from Coyotes…all the time. I wish my neighbors would keep their cats in at night…UGH!
    And Joan; if your reading this..please stop feeding the random cats at night-its a meal for all the coyotes, raccoons and possums!!

  3. So sorry Jennifer:( I used to live in Silverlake on Micheltorena and would see Coyotes regularly at night. Now i’m in Echo Park right near Dodgers Stadium and Elysian Park. I’ve seen at least one every night for the past couple of weeks while walking my dog. There have been new missing cat posters going up everywhere in the neighborhood. Cat owners please keep ’em inside for their safety.

  4. Went out in the garden on a Tuesday, found a cat head. Argh! Screamed, even though I was alone. Went back inside. On Thursday, I put on gloves and brought out a plastic bag to put the head in, but only found athe collar. I called Toby’s family and informed them that he wouldn’t be coming home.

    I live up in the hills above Sunset. Anyone who lets their cat outside is offering a nice snack to a coyote. All the cats who show up in the neighborhood only are around for a while. They get munched. This is cruel.

    People think they are being kind leaving food out for ‘strays.’ They are actually feeding the raccoons, possums, skunks, squirrels (although they seem to have disappeared too), and coyotes. I see them all out my kitchen window, on the street and on the stairs early in the morning.


  5. As the AV owners of three and having neighbors in the same complex who have lost theirs to coyotes, your loss hits home. We would be devistated. Thanks for posting the reminder to all to keep a close eye on your loved ones and once the sun gets low in the sky, the family has to be together inside.

  6. If you live in the hills and let your cat out, you are putting them at risk. I keep my cats indoors because of this. I used to let my cat out in the daytime and bring him in at night, until I started seeing coyotes in the daytime too. Now my cats are indoors only and perfectly happy and healthy. The coyote sounds have been unbelievable at night in Elysian Park; packs of them so loud!

  7. I’m not really sure why some people take cats in as pets if they are going to subject them to the terrible odds of them going up against a coyote.

    Amazingly my last one made it 12 years although I would make a point to get him back inside at night for the latter half of that. He did contract an infection from his travels which eventually caused heart disease and he died from a resulting stroke, which was horrendous enough.

    Unsuprisingly, my current two cats are indoor only.

    • Certainly it’s a risk I take as cat owner, but if I can alleviate choop’s uncertainly, one reason why I “subject” our cats to those odds, is that all of ours are rescues that’d already become comfortable to life outside. We do bring them all in at night, but trying to keep the increasingly cabin-fevered bunch inside during the day — and we have — is a near-impossible proposition, especially when you factor a dog into the equation who needs ready access to the backyard.

      I live a block over from Jennifer and Debe and as little as two weeks ago chased a away a pair of coyotes who we found at dawn one morning in our next-door neighbor’s yard trying to get at a skunk. Like other commenters have written, they are simply a fact of the neighborhood.

  8. My Chi got taken by coyotes in the middle of the day a few weeks ago!
    I live in Silverlake with a garden that backs onto a no mans land that incorporates a coyote den.
    They have pups and are desperately hungry after a really dry winter. The females can be pretty aggressive under these circumstances.

  9. I don’t know, but in both pictures that were posted, it looks like the cat is playing dead. Maybe he has everyone fooled.

  10. As someone who has been in Echo Park for 10+ years, one thing you learn is that the coyotes are everywhere. Even if you can’t see them, they can see you.

  11. Coyotes are a wonderful part of our neighborhood. Don’t blame them for being wild animals. Losing pets is the pet owner’s fault, not the coyotes.

    People need to understand the coyotes live throughout our neighborhood, not just in the hills or in the parks. I live South of Sunset Junction and see coyotes on my block all the time.

  12. Domestic cats (and dogs) don’t stand a chance against Coyotes. They don’t understand that a Coyote is wild and wants to eat them, they just think it’s another ‘dog’ that will just chase them and leave it at that. Many cats/dogs will stand their ground on that assumption, with tragic results.

    One night around 1am, as I was putting the trash out, I stumbled upon 2 coyotes stalking a cat (around Griffith park blvd and hyperion). They would lurch towards the cat, which would run but stop maybe 12ft away, thinking the coyotes were just ‘dogs’. As the cat was sitting one of the coyotes was flanking the cat around the side/back, so the cat couldn’t keep its eye on both at the same time. This all happened within about 4 seconds. I intercepted between the cat and Coyotes trying to chase them away but they just looked at me like, ‘really?’, and wouldn’t run or leave. So I chased the cat away while holding the coyotes at bay. Eventually the coyotes lost interest and I was able to chase them away, but they did not run, they only strolled away as though they were annoyed with me. After all, I just chased away their dinner.

    I’m convinced I saved that cat’s life that night.

  13. Jennifer – so, so sorry for your loss. How traumatic. Thank you for warning the rest of us so quickly.

    @ Will – I’m in the 600’s of N La Fayette (which include the 700’s) – did this happen at N or S La Fayette? can you share the exact address?

    @kat – so sorry for your loss! are you above or below sunset?

  14. We too found a cat’s head and limb in our backyard this weekend. We live on W Ave 37 and our backyard is a haven for the coyotes. We see them in the neighborhood all the time and are very cautious when taking our dogs out. Not to mention that both of our cats stay indoors at all times.

  15. BTW, the older cats get, the less adventurous they get, and the easier it is to keep them inside. My 8 year old cat who’s been an indoor cat all his life, but is let out for some supervised outdoor time once in a while (I watch him), doesn’t even care to go out that much anymore. In fact, many times he won’t go out when I let him. The times he’s ‘in the mood’, he usually only stays out for maybe 30-60 minutes at the most before he wants to go back in.

    But I always have my eye on him when outside.

  16. former cat owner

    We’ve had more posters than ever of “lost” cats on Waverly Drive (Silver Lake) this year. As someone who had his own cat eaten a few years ago by coyotes, I learned my lesson. Cats cannot be outside once it starts getting dark. By letting them be outside at night, it is ONLY a matter of time. Every single neighbor of mine, who ever had an outdoor cat, has always eventually lost it to a coyote.

    People mistakenly think that cats can get away by climbing trees. But… coyotes can run up to 43 mph. Cats? Only 30 mph. They cannot outrun a coyote. Sure, if they can make it to a tree, they’re safe. But cats don’t “know” they’re not as fast as a coyote, so they don’t think “I must find a tree.” And if they don’t, they’re coyote food.


    • Apparently sunny has no life. Other than reading posts about things he hates.

      = Troll.

      Have you beat down the skinny jean hipster kids @ Marshall High yet? Do tell tough guy.

  18. Oh, my dear Jen, this makes my stomach hurt and my eyes tear. He was such a sweet sweet kitty. You and Deb were so great to him.

  19. Mayberry and Waterloo in Silver Lake/Echo Park, 14 June 2012
    I just moved into the neighborhood a few weeks ago and have been wondering about coyotes. I put bells on my dog to make him seem bigger, but now after what was in my driveway this morning, forget the bells, I’m never letting him alone. The top half of a cat, nothing else, found his resting place in my driveway. Startling, disturbing, heart wrenching, of course. The city came to get him and said with certainty that it was the work of a coyote. This is just across from Mayberry Elementary. Thankfully, those little kids don’t go to school until after the sun comes up. Anyhow, just reporting this to the blog. Watch over your animals!

  20. Took a stroll at 9:30pm near Maltman and Carnation and spotted 2 coyotes casually strolling. 1 looked to be limping a bit…both took an interest and stared at me for an uncomfortable length of time, before I wandered up a driveway to be out of their way. Be careful out there.

  21. We just lost our 15 year old cat about 5 days ago…..well he’s been missing for 5 days now and he NEVER wandered away. The only thing we have left of him are some large dried blood droplets (about the size of a quarter) on the driveway that leads down towards the road and then they stop. I’m devastated, he was our only cat and managed to survive for 15 years in the mountains that are filled with bobcats, coyotes, cougars and hawks. If it wasn’t a coyote, it was something else. We last saw him go outside at about 6pm on a Sat., it’s now Thurs. and no other sign of him. We had our windows open that evening he went missing and never heard any noise like an animal attack was happening, so it must happened fast and by surprise. I miss my kitty so much, the mental visual of my beloved cat being snatched and taken is haunting me non-stop right now. I wish there was a way to find him for some closure, blood stains on the driveway do nothing but add salt to the wounds.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *