Feedback on Half Cat Mystery

“The kitten’s corpse was pretty much as described in your broadcast: upper half only with skin down to about mid torso. The description of a child’s hand puppet is exactly what I was thinking when I saw it.”

– M. G., Houston, Texas

July 28, 2005  From Washington, California and Arizona to Texas and Tennessee – The following are a few of the many e-mails I have received from Earthfiles viewers and COAST listeners about the half cat phenomenon reported about in 071405 Earthfiles and other Earthfiles listed in More Information below. 

1) C. M., Attorney
Spokane, Washington

“I listen to you on Coast to Coast AM, when you are on George Noory’s show. My name is Cheryl Mitchell and I am an attorney and the Chairperson of the Animal Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association. I am not, however, writing to you in my official capacity.

I am located in Spokane, Washington, which is on the eastern side of the state, about 20 miles west of the Idaho border, and approximately 100 miles south of the Canadian border. Most of the section members practice on the western side of the state, where you indicated that the cases involving cat mutilations are occurring.

I believe we had a half cat mutilation about a year ago in Spokane. The one here in Spokane was not investigated or even reported in our paper. The only reason I heard about it was because I am involved in cat rescue on a day-to-day basis.

I was told by a friend, who had inquired of the animal control director about the cat, that there was relatively little blood. The animal control director surmised that the cat had been dead when it was cut in half. And I do not know if they found both halves of the cat. No investigation was done nor was a necropsy performed on the cat.

I am writing to ask if you would like me to post a notice on the Animal Law Section’s ListServ regarding these half cat cases. I could ask if anyone in the section has knowledge of this type of case to contact you. I believe that attorneys who practice in the area of animal law might be receiving information about cases of this nature, which might otherwise go unreported. I do not believe that the animal control agencies even understand what these cases might involve. …I could let the Animal Law Section members know about your research. I do not know if it might be possible to arrange for necropsies of some of these cats at the veterinary school in Pullman, Washington.”

2) R. H.
Tucson, Arizona

“My name is Rachel and I live in Tucson, Az. My cousins found their cat about 2 months ago cut in half a couple houses down from their house. She called us over to bury it, and had explained to us that is looked like it was cut clean in half. (Back half left.) Well when we got there it couldn’t have been a cleaner cut. It was so disturbing to see, and impossible to forget. It was only the back half with his legs and tail with no tearing, fur loss, or chew marks. There were also no organs/intestines and no blood on the ground or in the fur. He (cat)
was found in a gated dirt area next to a major street.

We thought it to be unlikely that a coyote would be in the middle of a neighborhood down town eating a cat next to a very busy street. But we looked around and saw no prints or anything else unusual. We called the police who also shared our opinions about the cat’s body. They took pictures and filed a report. But they had said no similar reports were made.

Well about a month after that, a second back half of a cat was found by a school in the same neighborhood. All the people that have seen these cats believe it to be done by ‘someone’ – not something.”

3) R. N.
Lancaster, California

“In 1959 we lived in Lancaster, California, and spent a lot time out in the Mojave desert. I was about 12 or 13 years old. On one late afternoon/early evening, I went out into the bush to do some target shooting with my father and brother. We had gone about a mile when I found the rear half of a large ground squirrel directly in my path. It looked as if someone had cleaved it apart with something very sharp, no blood on the squirrel or on the ground and no tracks. The ground was very dry and dusty, should have been tracks if it had been a coyote. The body was cool to the touch, much cooler than the air and the ground, and was quite flexible, as if it had just been halved. The body was perfectly clean, no sand or soil on the wound or saliva on the fur, clean as could be. I don’t know why, but I had the feeling that it had been put there for me to find. When my father got to where I was, he insisted that I put it back where I found it because we may have disturbed a predator of some kind. But I didn’t think so and still don’t.”

4) C. B.
Oceanside, California

“I was terrified that this is such a widespread event. Two years ago, I woke in the morning and found my two cats looking out of our kitchen window. Their eyes were wide open and they appeared almost frozen. I followed their gaze and saw a furry mass on the ground outside. I went outside to take a look and there was the most hideous sight I have ever seen. A cat lay dead, cut from neck to groin in a single, neat clean line. it was also cut through the middle in half. i have worked in the medical field for years and I know what surgical precision looks like. That was it. It was placed neat and tidy, one half next to the other. There was no blood to indicate a “kill sight” I checked the entire back yard. The other very chilling thing was that the cat’s innards were gone. it was empty inside. No bones, pooled blood, nothing. The head, leg, and tail bones appeared to be in tact but nothing else. No rib cage-NOTHING.

I called Animal Control and they advised me to notify the police. When the police arrived, the officer looked around and agreed that while it could be a coyote, he really doubted that an animal did this. He called for a second officer who specialized in hate crime and I believe he used the word “cult” activity. the officer looked around and said without a doubt it was a coyote and they left. My husband and I looked at the poor cat and there was no way a wild animal would do this. Do you have any more information on who or why is mutilating cats like this? one and a half years later one of our cats came home with his belly and groin area shaved almost bare. There was also a patched shaved on his leg with a small round sore that festered and we had to take him to a vet. The Vet claimed it was probably a feral cat or a non-neutered Male cat. No way, again this was a precision clipping. The edges were neat and tidy and the hair was ALL clipped short, not torn out or scratched. A vet tech recommended I file a suspicious activity report with ASPCA, but they refused to take the report because with cats, you can not control them. Any help or information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. FYI there are always missing animal signs around our area. must be all that traffic:-)”

5) M. G.
Houston, Texas

“I was listening to Coast to Coast AM on July 22 concerning your report on the half cat incidents, and I was writing to inform you about 1 of these corpses showing up on my driveway. I reside about 10 miles north of the city limits of Houston, TX in an area called The Woodlands. I have a few cats/kittens that “reside” on my back porch and 1 of the kittens (she was about 9 months old at this point, not really a kitten anymore) turned up with just the upper half of the corpse. I found her because 1 of the 2 adult cats was sitting at the end of the driveway kind of sniffing the air when I arrived home from my 2nd job at about 6:30 am.

I walked over to where she was sniffing and noticed the kitten, my first impression was that she was hiding in the grass as it was rather tall. I realized the kitten was dead because they normally scatter when I am very near. The kitten’s corpse was pretty much as described in your broadcast: upper half only with skin down to about mid torso. The description of a child’s hand puppet is exactly what I was thinking when I saw it. There was no blood at all on the fur or the grass upon which the corpse was laying. I did not actually look inside, but it appeared there was no rib cage and the internal organs were gone. The “biggest” wild creatures that reside in my area are possums and raccoons, and the pack of cats have killed 1 possum and tore up another 1 pretty bad in the last year so I doubt very seriously that is what killed it.

There has been some massive scale construction/renovations going on in this area, plus there have been some heavy machinery across the street clearing out 2 wooded plots next to a water storage tank, so who knows what has been stirred up in what is left of the forested areas. My initial thought was that the kitten had been caught up in 1 of the heavy machinery and was pulled apart, as something very sudden and very “strong” had to have pulled it apart without leaving any blood residue on the coat, and the mother cat had drug to corpse to the house to leave it for me. I buried the kitten behind the fence in the backyard and did not think any more of it until last night.

After listening to the show, I now realized my assumption is incorrect and am now baffled by the cause of death. I am figuring there is probably more than 1 occurrence as there was an animal control truck driving around the neighborhood on July 22, at about 2 pm when I left for work.”  6) V. C.Renton, Washington “Recently there have been reports of missing and partially eaten cats on the news. Wildlife experts are speculating some of the attacks might have been by raccoons because they say coyotes typically eat the entire cat, including collar, bells and all. Indeed, they have found cat collars in the scat of coyotes. Usually all that’s left from a coyote kill are scraps of fur. So I don’t buy the idea that half-cats and other mutilations are caused by coyotes. Raptors have also taken cats in the area, but they don’t cut them in half. I imagine raccoons would make quite a mess as well.

I appreciate your research. On Memorial Day, my next-door neighbor found my healthy male black cat dead in her back yard. I could find nothing wrong with him, no marks, broken bones, no vomit, no blood, no signs of trauma. A coyote would not have killed him and then left him there. We live on a quiet dead-end at the top of a hill, so it is unlikely he was hit by a car since he never ventured far, although he might have had internal injuries. I don’t want to be overly suspicious, but I’ve had the feeling it was ‘murder.'”

7) P. C.
Collegedale, Tennessee

“I am a patrolman for the City of Collegedale, TN (east of Chattanooga in Hamilton County). I spent some of my childhood and all of my teenage years in this area and frequently patrol the road where I once lived. Much of this area is now developed into new residential subdivisions but when I lived here in the 1960’s it was mainly farmland and woods. My brother and I found a half rabbit in the mid-1960’s near our house. I thought it very strange at the time and I have occasionally remembered the incident in passing. Your discussion tonight again on COAST reminded me of that experience. The rabbit was evenly divided in the middle. We found only the rear half. As I remember, there was no blood and no signs of a struggle; there was no ripping or tearing of flesh evident. I was probably about 12-13 — my brother 2 years younger. We dutifully buried it where we did our cats and dogs that had died through the years.”

8) R. B.
Redmond, Washington

“Just a minor note, but FYI a coyote will almost never kill more than one animal on any given day. For the coyote it’s about a meal, not the
thrill of the chase. There are some dogs on the other hand that simply
enjoy chasing/killing cats and it is not uncommon for such a dog to kill
several animals if he has the opportunity.

There are plenty of coyotes in the Seattle area and because I have three cats I’ve made a point of studying coyotes and their habits.One other thing, a coyote typically kills a cat by biting/crushing the neck — very different from the reports on your webpage.

My guess is the so-called authorities in your story are simply grabbing
for the nearest plausible explanation to offer up to the owners.”

9) C. C.
Sequim, Washington

“With regards to cats in half, I can share with you a direct experience with a coyote attack in Redmond about 10 years ago. I share this story with you since there are relevant details that may be useful in determining if a cat mutilation was indeed that of a coyote.

It was just past daybreak on a Sunday morning, my wife had stepped outside into the front yard to look for the Sunday paper. She came back inside shocked claiming that there had been a cat mutilation in our front yard and I needed to clean it up before the kids woke up.

I went out into the front year and sure enough there was the front half of a cat. It was as though somebody had cut the cat exactly in half leaving the front half in our yard. Upon further inspection I discovered the entrails of the cat had been scattered throughout the yard with the intestines stretching from one end of the yard to the other. The yard was full of cat fur and there was considerable evidence of a struggle as I could trace the last scramble of the cat as it attempted to escape the coyote. I had been planning to mow the lawn later that day, as a result the grass was long enough to register the chase and the final spot where the the coyote captured the cat. Due to the condition of the cat I promptly buried the remains in our side yard.

I am relatively certain it was a coyote because two weeks later a friend who lived a few blocks away mentioned that she happened to be up that same morning having taken her husband to the airport for an early morning business flight. After returning home and while preparing a cup of coffee she glanced out her kitchen window and happened to see a coyote, in the early morning light, trotting down the middle of the residential street with the remains of a cat in it’s mouth.

There was an irony in the fact that my wife had created leaflets with her computer asking if anyone has lost a cat in the neighborhood. She dutifully posted them on the telephone poles and mail boxes within a few block radius of our house. It was several days later our phone rang just as I had returned home from work. The caller stated that she had a cat that was the same color as what was described in the leaflet. She told me over the phone that she would allow her cat to play outside all night and her cat would always return to her Condo deck by daybreak every morning, with the exception of the previous Sunday morning.

I asked her to describe her cat and she proceeded to describe all of the assorted details of the back end of the cat. The more I attempted to ask her to describe the front end of the cat the more she would tell me about the unique spots on the tail, or on the coloration on the rear right leg, or the length of the tail. The problem was that I had the front half and did not want to tell her that the cat was indeed gone if it wasn’t her cat. Finally I was able to get her to describe the white plastic collar – on the front half of the cat – it was then that I was able to confirm the identity and only then share the sad news with her. It became very quiet on the other end of the phone.”

More Information:

For more information about half cat mutilations, please see my book,
Glimpses of Other Realities, Vol. I: Facts & Eyewitnesses in Earthfiles Shop.

Also, please see other Earthfiles reports about half cat mutilations in Earthfiles Archives:

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