RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Do you like showing off your pretty kitty or puppy that can fit in a handbag? If you do, odds are coyotes in the area are licking their chops to get a good look at them, too.

It’s currently coyote pupping season throughout North Carolina, biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said. They also said a spike in coyote sightings has already been seen this spring.

“Coyotes prefer to raise their young in secluded areas, but keeping a litter of pups well-fed and healthy means scouting for food at all hours and covering a large territory,” the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said in a release.

But they continued, “Coyotes mostly eat rabbits, small rodents, insects, fruits and dead animals, but will also dine on outdoor pet food and food scraps left near homes. Smaller pets, such as cats and small-breed dogs, should always be closely supervised when outdoors, as they can easily be mistaken for a coyote’s natural prey.”

The Commission recommends feeding household pets inside and keeping food waste in secure containers. However, if pets must be fed outside, the release said to set specific feeding times and remove all dishes and clean up any spilled foods afterward.

Additionally, the Commission also recommends keeping dogs, as well as cats, on leashes or harnesses when outside. This will avoid straying.

Further, the feeding of birds and rodents isn’t recommended currently, as fruit and birdseed on the ground can attract coyotes, officials said in the release.

“Coyotes rarely attack people, but sometimes take an interest in our pets. Keep cats indoors, and if you are walking a small dog and notice a coyote watching or following you, pick up the dog and haze the coyote until it leaves,” the Commission said in a release. “Teaching a coyote to have a healthy fear of people is a great way to discourage unwanted behavior and foster coexistence.”