MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) – House pets in a Mountain View neighborhood are being forced to stay indoors because it’s too dangerous to stay outside. A sudden spike in coyote encounters is being blamed in several animal attacks.

Mariel Vandalsum said her sister discovered dead cats a couple of weeks ago.

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“She heard commotion in the middle of the night,” Vandalsum said. “And saw the coyote on her front lawn, eating a cat.”

That pet belonged to Wesley Brandemuehl’s mother, a 14-year-old outdoor cat named Mario.

Mario, a 14-year-old cat, was killed by a coyote, according to residents living in Mountain View's Waverly Park neighborhood. (Wesley Brandemuehl)

Mario, a 14-year-old cat, was killed by a coyote, according to residents living in Mountain View’s Waverly Park neighborhood. (Wesley Brandemuehl)

“She was pretty devastated at the time, she was the closest to the cat in the whole family,” Brandemuehl said.

But the attacks were far from over. Vandalsum said a coyote came back for more, the next day.

“She just walked out in the morning and saw a little cat head and four paws. That was all that was left of the cat 56,” Vandalsum told KPIX 5.

Since then, residents said two more cats have gone missing and a dog was also targeted by a coyote.

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Vandalsum said they no longer allow their allow their cat or two dogs outside.

“I’m not sure where they’re coming from. But I know they’re hungry,” she said.

Some residents have theories. The Waverly Park neighborhood is right up against Stevens Creek.

“From what I heard, the coyotes have been using Stevens Creek to get down here, which makes a lot of sense,” Brandemuehl said.

For now, residents hope the coyotes move on, as they keep a closer eye on their pets.

Brandemuehl said Mario was the alpha cat on the street and was likely trying to protect the neighborhood.

“I can’t count the number of times late at night we would hear him yowling at some cat or another around our house,” he told KPIX 5. “We think he probably tried to scare off the coyote.”

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The Department of Fish & Wildlife said coyotes are mostly active between March and August because they’re raising their young and searching for food.