Cats Will Eat Dead Human Flesh, Expert Says

by : Cameron Frew on : 16 Jan 2020 11:35
Cats Will Eat Dead Human Flesh, Expert SaysCats Will Eat Dead Human Flesh, Expert SaysPexels

How loyal is a hungry cat?


We love our pets. They’re always by our sides and there for comfort and play at all times of the day. The thought of their passing is excruciating – imagining how you’d cope without your cute furry friend.

However, while their death would likely bring tears and despair, your cat might be licking its chops at the prospect of a tasty meal for the taking.


In the name of science, researchers from the Colorado Mesa University’s Forensic Investigation Research Station left 40 dead bodies outside for nearly 35 days to document and photograph how they decompose.


Experiments like these are of huge value to law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners as it helps clarify the body’s process and importantly the timing, particularly for corpses found that are already rotten.

Morgue Dead Body ShutterstockMorgue Dead Body ShutterstockShutterstock

However, as researchers made their notes on the bodies, two separate feral cats wandered into the area to nibble on the buffet on offer.

The study, published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, explained: 

Due to the prevalence of feral cats throughout the United States and the world, understanding the patterns and behaviours of these scavengers can assist in distinguishing between perimortem and postmortem tissue damage.

The first cat – a striped tabby – went straight for the body of a 79-year-old woman, munching on mainly the soft tissue on her left arm and chest. The researchers then put a cage over the body so the cat wouldn’t further disrupt the study – however, when it was removed, the same cat returned to eat that body exclusively.


The second black cat went for the body of a 70-year-old man, although this time the researchers didn’t try to stop it. They found the feline opted for the arm and abdomen, and both cats always returned to the same body.


Sara Garcia, the study’s lead author, told the MailOnline

The main theory is that cats are, like, picky eaters. Once they find a food that they like, they’ll stick with it.

Co-author Melissa Connor added: ‘Any coroner or medical examiner will tell you of cases where a body was shut up with a pet that scavenged the owner eventually.’


However, it’s not like cats are sizing you up for you pop your clogs. Mikel Delgado, a cat behaviour researcher at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, also noted: ‘It’s not a behavior problem. It’s just a fact of life.’

At least you don’t need to worry about your cat starving if you die unexpectedly.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Cats, Corpses, Pets, Research, Science


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