The Torrance Police Department is cautioning residents about an increase in coyote sightings.

Fifteen new coyote sightings have been reported by residents recently. Some of these animals have also been suspected of attacking cats in residential neighborhoods.

Coyotes are considered part of the dog family and are native to California. Experts say they’re extremely adaptable, and can survive on minimal food. While many may fear these coyotes, they’re said to be fearful of humans.

Torrance Police say if you begin seeing coyotes frequently in your neighborhood, let them know they’re not welcome. Make loud noises or throw an object at them.

Residents are encouraged to keep pets on a short leash, install motion sensor lighting around the house, and eliminate thick ground cover such as ivy along with low shrubs to minimize protective cover for the coyotes. Don’t leave trash or open pet food outdoors. Also warn children to never approach stray animals.

Authorities say it’s essential that coyotes retain their natural wariness of humans. Never try to tame a coyote.

To report a dead animal, call Torrance Animal Control at (310) 618-3850. To report a coyote sighting, call the Torrance Police Department at (310) 618-5641.