Feral cats prefer to search for food through hunting rather than scavenging. Thus, researchers from the Forensic Investigation Research Station in Whitewater, Colorado, were surprised that a couple of feral cats feasted on corpses which were primarily intended for scientists to document their various stages of decomposition. This incident has become an important part of understanding the behaviors of feral or wild cats.
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Feral cats targeting human dead bodies as their meals is nothing new. For instance, the study published in the Forensic Science journal narrated how two feral cats feasted on the bodies of a 79-year-old woman and a 70-year-old man. One feral cat snuck onto the body farm and fed on the woman’s fat layers and soft tissue for 35 consecutive days. It ate the woman’s breasts and exposed the bones in her upper left arm. The man’s flesh, on the other hand, was eaten by another feral cat for 10 nights.
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“What appeared to be the same cat was seen on game cameras throughout the facility but showed no interest in any of the other 40-plus adjacent donors. The cat did not scavenge new donors placed around the time of scavenging and in a similar stage of decomposition,” the study explained.
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Even domesticated cats are capable of eating corpses, which proves that even after years of domestication, their predatory instincts are still very much ingrained in their DNA. According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, forensic anthropologist Carolyn Rando explained that cats, wild or domesticated, will eat humans as soon as the humans expire.
“They tend to go for the neck, face, and any exposed areas first, and then, if not discovered in time, they may proceed to eat the rest of you,” she said.