Someone recently reached out to us about cat cannibalism – meaning one of her cats passed away at home and the other cats ate his body. Graphic, I know – but it’s a thing. It’s hard to find information about this so I decided to blog about why we believe this happens.
When doing research on cat cannibalism I reached out to a well-known feline veterinarian as well as a feline behaviorist to see what they know. Surprisingly, neither had heard about this before! When you search for this online you can only find forums about cats eating their young or other dead felines outside. This isn’t what I’m looking for.
It’s not uncommon to see feral cats eating dead animals outside. It’s food. Their bodies need it. But what about our domesticated kitties? Is it common for them to eat a deceased housemate?
My grandfather had two cats, a mother and daughter, that were always indoors. They were 18 & 19 years old when the mother, Tiffy, passed. Granddad and his wife were away for an event when this happened, so it was devastating when they came home to find only half of her body left in their bedroom. The daughter, Stephy, had cannibalized most of her mother’s deceased body.
Are Raw Fed Cats Blood Thirsty?
There’s a theory out there that if you feed your cat a species appropriate raw food diet they will become blood thirsty and try to kill other animals for prey. This simply isn’t true. My granddad’s cats were fed a kibble only diet with a treat of canned tuna now and again. Yet the cat cannibalism still happened in his home.
My theory is this: You can take the cat out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the cat. I think that cats who lose housemates may grieve the loss and/or try to help by licking the body of the deceased feline friend… but once a cat tastes and smells raw meat, instinct sets in. Since we know that fresh raw meat is the best food for kitties, it makes sense that their instincts would tell them to eat at this moment.
While I understand that this is a graphic topic and it must be mortifying to actually experience this, please know that your cats are wild animals at heart. Don’t get upset with your cats for being cats.
And if you have experienced cat cannibalism, please comment below. Let us know about your experience. Cat parents that deal with this need to know that they’re not alone.