Same happened to my old guy. He hit 13 and started getting his butt kicked by the young ones. Then he would only go out in the mornings for few minutes. He new the deal. He passed a year ago at 18.I agree. But you don't know what you don't know at 5:15 am with very little light, still half asleep, a good distance from the front door of the house and never seeing them around my property or neighborhood before. I've never seen another fox in my yard or the woods behind my house ever again. There have been reports of coyotes not too far away but I've never seen or heard any.
From Humane Society: Keeping cats safe: A typical adult cat is almost the same size as a fox and has a well-deserved reputation for self-defense, so foxes are generally not interested in taking such cats on. Kittens and very small (less than five pounds) adult cats, however, could be prey for a fox.
The best way to avoid encounters between foxes and cats is to keep your cats indoors–a practice that will keep your cats safe from other hazards as well, such as traffic, disease and fights, to mention only a few.
My cat was an indoor/outdoor cat who brought squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and rabbits to the door as a gift to me. He got older and in a big fight with another cat that got the better of him with a huge bleeding gash in his left front shoulder from the claws. It was 7:30 in the morning on a Sunday. Luckily I found a Vet who had a 24 hr. emergency clinic 7 days a week about 30 miles away and rushed over there. Took 8 to 10 stitches and a lot of blood. That was the end of his career as an outdoor playboy and hunter. Took him a while to become used to being indoors all the time but he finally settled down. Since then I've trained him to walk in a harness and leash like a dog to go outside. I don't walk him, he walks me or my wife. He leads, we follow. Until it's time to come in.
This is what I do see frequently from my kitchen window in the woods about 40 feet away:
View attachment 310808
His replacement does not go out and never will.
Ten or so years ago our neighborhood was constantly terrorized by an NFL players 100+ pound pittbull. Ran me up into the back of my truck one day. That was before we could carry, or he would have gotten a mag of 230gr XTP, and I would have been arrested.
He was later run out of state and took the dog with him. Pepper spray with me now when I am out walking.