It was 4 a.m. in early June when Megan Giesbrecht heard her cat yowling outside.
The Abbotsford mother said she went downstairs and called for her 14-year-old cat, Hendrix, to come inside, but there was no response. Then she saw a raccoon cross her yard, followed by her husband Darren, who was already outside.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to come and get Hendrix, it’s pretty bad.'”
Megan found Hendrix under the family car in the driveway, lying in a pool of blood. Four raccoons had pinned the cat down, biting and scratching it until Darren scared them away. Hendrix’s face was cut and one of his legs was broken in multiple places, along with multiple bite marks.
The Giesbrechts live in the McMillan area of Abbotsford, where a rise in attacks on neighbourhood cats and even small dogs is being blamed on a roving gang of raccoons — likely very same one that injured Hendrix.
Despite the extensive injuries, Hendrix is expected to survive. Megan Giesbrecht says her family is one of the lucky ones.
“A lot of people are saying they found their cat ripped apart on their front doorstep,” she said. “Other people have come upon the attack and not been able to get the raccoons away … and some people just got there too late.”
What’s most disturbing is that the attacks appear to be unprovoked, and even coordinated among the raccoons.
In a surveillance video taken from the Giesbrechts’ home just before the attack, two raccoons are seen chasing Hendrix right into the clutches of two others.
WATCH BELOW: Security footage shows the raccoon attack on the Giesbrechts’ cat at their Abbotsford home
Angela Fontana, senior animal care supervisor at the Langley-based Critter Care Wildlife Society, said food is the main reason for a raccoon to act aggressively.
Although the Giesbrechts and other families say they didn’t have any food outside and their garbage cans were empty, Fontana says a lack of natural food sources in urban areas can make the animals desperate.
Add growing development in cities across the Lower Mainland, and interactions with the critters are likely to keep climbing.
As for the Giesbrechts, they’re anxiously waiting for the cast on Hendrix’s leg to be removed on Monday, and will keep him tethered outside under a watchful eye from now on.
“The cats aren’t safe outside at night anymore,” Megan Giesbrecht said.