It’s very unlikely a possum will attack a cat, so I have to say, ‘no’, possums do not attack cats. Possums prey on much smaller rodents and insects, and they’re more likely to run away from a cat than fight with them.
Possums and opossums have sharp claws and teeth and will use them to defend themselves when threatened though.
If you have an overly curious cat that thinks it’s a good idea to chase or try to play with a possum, there is always a risk that they will get scratched or bitten.
The problem with this is that if your cat is scratched or bitten, they are then at risk of contracting a disease from the possum. That’s a bigger threat than being physically harmed.
Do Possums Carry Diseases Fatal to Cats?
According to icanr.edu, possums carry diseases such as toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, tularemia, spotted fever, leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, trichomoniasis, and Chagas disease.
That’s quite the list of nasty diseases, some of which could be passed on to your cat!
There is also the risk that they are infested ticks, mites, lice, or fleas. So, that’s more than enough reason to try and ensure there is some distance between your cat and any possums
In addition to the threat of disease, possums are also just a nuisance.
They can damage some of your housing structure, they love to forage in bins and cause a mess, they destroy plants, and they might create a nest and start breeding.
Although they can look cute sometimes, I always do everything I can to deter possums from coming anywhere near my home, and I recommend you do, too.
Related – How to Keep Possums Away From Cat Food: 3 Methods!
Do Possums Get Along With Cats?
Saying that possums get along with cats is a bit of a stretch. But it’s certainly fairly common for these two species to coexist without any issues.
I’ve seen loads of pictures over the years of possums and cats eating out of the same food bowl together, so that’s a pretty strong sign that they’re able to tolerate each other.
It’s also a reminder that cat food attracts possums and they will steal it if given the smallest opportunity!
At the end of the day, adult possums are really quite wiley. They’re very adept at surviving by keeping out of trouble, and they really only put themselves in danger when they’re after food.
They have a great sense of smell and will know that territory belongs to a cat so they need to be hyper-vigilant.
Typically, it’s only over time that they become more comfortable being out in the open in an area, especially where cats are roaming.
Who Would Win a Fight Between a Cat and a Possum?
A cat would almost certainly win a fight with a possum. Cats are much larger, faster, and more powerful. They also have claws and teeth that are just as sharp.
Obviously, it’s not something you ever want to see happen though, having your cat fighting with a possum. The risk of your cat being injured, and worse contracting a disease is too high.
I know both of my cats want nothing to do with possums and that works just fine for me.
On the rare occasion they’ve seen one, and this applies to foxes and most other animals, my cats go down into that stalker/crouching position and just watch them.
Do Cats Prey on Possums?
Not in my experience they don’t, no. This doesn’t mean that some cats won’t chase and prey on possums though.
I asked around my friends and looked at some discussions about cats and possums within the community, and I couldn’t find any accounts from anyone saying they’ve ever known their cats to attack or prey on an opossum.
So, I think it’s safe to say it’s very rare.
I can imagine it would be more likely if it was a baby possum, so you can’t rule that out. Baby possums look and act a lot like small rodents, so I can imagine it would be hard for a lot of cats to resist praying on them.
Related – Are cicadas or Scorpions a threat to cats?
Do Opossums Attack Cats? (That’s Opossum Not Possum)
There is a lot of confusion between possums and opossums – and rightly so as they have very similar names and look similar!
Believe it or not, possums and opossums are actually two different species of animal.
American possums are actually called opossums and have the scientific name of Didelphimorphia. While the Australian possums are, well, possums and have the scientific name Phalangeridae.
Still, the size of both animals it’s very similar, as are their diets, behaviors, and so on. As far as I’m able to tell, opossums present the exact same threats to cats as possums do.
This means that whether you have possums or opossums coming into contact with your cat where you live, it’s unlikely they are going to do any serious harm – if at all – to your cat.
There you go, if you have possums or opossums in your area and you were concerned about any danger your cats may be in, I hope you have better peace of mind now.
A possum attacking a cat is almost unheard of, unless the cat puts them in a defensive position where they feel threatened.
Even then, the risk of a cat being seriously injured is minimal. There is a greater risk of the possum transmitting a disease or giving your cat fleas.
If the worst-case scenario does happen and your cat is wounded by a possum, the best advice is to seek veterinary care.
A vet will be able to give your cat a shot against any diseases they feel they are at risk from and tend to the wound properly.
Image credits – Photo by Mak on Unsplash
1 thought on “Do Possums Attack Cats? (Risk of Injury and Diseases Explained)”
Just so you know, I have had cats where a posssum will come to eat cat food set out for outside cats. They usually will just keep a distance from each other . When the possum would appear my cats would sit on porch railing & watch at a safe distance.
So I was not too terribly concerned, until I moved to Tx. My sweet girl ( no ,not on purpose) had a litter of kittens . In our new residence we had an screened it porch which I thought was secure to put food for little ones. Not so! A possum managed to get in & killed several small kittens.
So never be too comfortable about wildlife being around your domestic cats! Maybe as adults the cats might be safe. But not small ones ! mine were about weaning age when they were killed.