In June 2022, a dead Russian woman was eaten by her 20 Maine coons. But such a shocking episode is not new. In 2013, the corpse of a 56-year- old Hampshire woman was found half eaten by her own cats when the body remained undiscovered for two months.
In 2019, Forensic researchers at the Colorado Mesa University were conducting a case study on the decomposition of dead bodies when they found two feral cats scavenging on two different human corpses.
Why have our furry pals turned against us? Why do cats eat their owners when they die? If these questions wake you up in the middle of the night, especially with your cat sleeping beside you, your concern is genuine.
Why Do Cats Eat Their Owners When They Die?
What exactly motivates a seemingly benign furry feline to feast on their dead human beings is a bit blurry. However, one thing is for sure. Cats are not scavengers; they are hunters. Unlike cats, scavenging instincts are mostly found in dogs. But still, the chances of a cat doing so cannot be ruled out, by and large, after different researches point to this possibility.
Two noteworthy theories are trying to explain why cats do that dreadful act.
1. Cats Try Hard to Resuscitate Their Human Fella
Cats form an emotional bond with their owners, and since they can easily sense the death of their human fellas, they are stuck hard. That is why, besides mourning, they try their best to revive the lost one (those cat owners who have ever played dead in front of their furry pals know this fact better!)
Cats might try to lick their owner in a passionate attempt to bring them back to life. Doing so can inflict post-mortem injuries on the corpse – appearing to be an attempt by the cat to have some flesh and satisfy her hunger.
Also, note that such attempts are not exclusive to cats, dogs and even other pet animals like birds and hamsters may also try to revive their owners when they die. Research on a German Shepherd who ate some parts of his owner within an hour of demise concludes that the incident occurred out of distress in the dog, and he began biting the dead body.
2. Cats Gratify Their Starvation
When the owner dies and there is no one to feed the cats, they might start eating their owners’ corpses to survive. And since most cats are picky eaters, they might stick to human remains, and in some cases, only with a single dead body.
Some renowned animal behavioralists confirm this fact. Mikel Delago of the University of California, for instance, says that nothing is surprising in the cat’s behavior of feeding on human beings; in fact, it is not a behavior but a part of life.
Moreover, she disclosed an incident in her blog where a cat whose owner had just died was brought into her animal shelter. Upon examining her, it was known that the cat had consumed the nose of the deceased.
What Are the Chances of Cats Eating Their Dead Owners?
Firstly, there are very few incidents of pets feeding on their owners’ corpses. In the Inverse analysis, all experts agreed that the majority of cats would realistically not prey on the corpse of their owners. So just be good to your pets during your life and then hope that they will not violate and devour your corpse.
But then again, it depends on the circumstances. In desperate times, you take desperate measures. So, if the sole owner and provider of the cat die and the cat(s) are alone with the corpse, with no escape route, there is a huge chance that the cat might turn to the corpse to meet her nutritional needs for her survival.
What Precautions Can Owners Take?
Pondering upon the reasons and probabilities mentioned, cat owners can stay in touch with their family and friends to make sure that their bodies are discovered before their cats have a chance to feast upon them. Especially if they live alone and suffer from some chronic disease, they must schedule regular calls to their loved ones.
Which Human Body Part Do Cats Savor the Most?
Cats are notorious for going for the face of their owners if they decide to consume them. Particularly on the face, their favorite parts seem to be the soft zones, such as the lips and the nose. After the face, it is the soft areas of the body, including the arms and shoulders.
Even emergency responders also say that so is the case – when they have a case of a feline feeding on human beings, it is usually the face that is the target. Similarly, Carolyn Rando of the University College London says, “when you sleep, cats tend to swat your face.”
Feral vs. Domestic Cats: Which One Is More Likely to Eat Human Flesh?
Both domestic and feral cats have the same DNA and dietary requirements. Both feral and domestic cats are known to eat human remains. So, when a cat is starving, she might not differentiate between other meat and human flesh. Though the scavenging patterns can differ slightly between the feral and domestic felines, both can end up eating human meat under dire circumstances.
Conclusion: Why Do Cats Eat Their Owners When They Die?
Cats eat their owners when they pass away out of an effort to bring them back to life or when they do not find any source of food other than human flesh. Though evidence and studies point out that there is very little chance of kitties eating their dead human beings, much is dependent on the circumstances.
Are you scared? Do not worry! Do the best for your cat, and she will do the same – after all, she also loves you. Stay with her; plan your future while keeping her inside the equation! If you have a crush, learn how to tell your cat that you are in love with someone.