Yes, your cat would like to eat you

How many times has a cat-lover heard from one of their cat-hating friends that their cats would eat them if given half a chance? A hundred thousand times? A million? Well, it turns out that there is new research to back it up. From the Washington Post:

The station is surrounded by a 10-foot-high, wire-topped fence that extends two feet underground to keep out large animals and most burrowing ones. But it is not impervious: Connor said prairie dogs frequently pop up but pay no attention to the bodies, while cats, skunks and snakes slip in through gaps in and under a front gate.

Remote cameras at the facility, which is far from houses but close to a landfill where feral cats live, had previously captured cats wandering among the grasses inside the gates. But during a routine scan of images, student Sara Garcia gasped at the sight of one feline that turned up in late 2017 and at another a few months later. These cats — one black, one striped — weren’t wandering. They were eating.

The “research,” such as it were, comes from a body farm at Colorado Mesa University. And, it turns out, cats have select tastes when it comes to humans:

And although the cats had a buffet of more than 40 bodies from which to choose, each one returned to the corpse it had selected again and again — one almost nightly for 35 nights straight.

Am I the only one who can’t read this without the Purina Meowmix commercial jingle running through my head? (“Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow…”)

This finding actually isn’t too surprising. You would be hard-pressed to find a coroner or an EMT who doesn’t have a story to tell about someone whose corpse was gnawed on by their cats. But those are usually cases involving someone who had been dead for several days before anyone realized it — usually little old ladies who live alone with their cats. The cats are confined to a home with their owner’s dead body … and when they stop being fed, well, natural instincts proceed. As one reader noted in the WaPo comment section: “I am somewhat socially isolated, and lived alone until the day I rescued my cat, who was lost or abandoned in the middle of a bitterly cold January. He is now my pet, and a very sweet and gentle and slightly timid kitty…. and I have no doubt he’d eat me if I keeled over, because his bags of cat food sit on top of my fridge, where he can’t get to, and he can’t work the can opener, even if he could get to his canned food in the cabinet.”

But this story is different. This story didn’t involve cats who were confined to an area where there was no food options except to scavenge a human body, but feral cats who ignored their predatory instincts to scavenge human flesh … and they climbed a 10-ft. fence to do so.

As a kid, I often heard that cats — the same felines that rub against your pant leg and purr madly — would eat you (alive, no less) if they were big enough to out-muscle you. But I’ve also heard all my life that granddaddy long legs possess enough venom to kill a healthy human if they only had a mouth big enough to properly bite, and I’m 99 percent sure that’s preposterous.

But there was an old cartoon once — it would be considered offensive in modern society — that showed two cats looking at an old woman. And one cat said to the other, “We could eat her now … or we could let her feed us for the next 15 years.”

It kinda takes on new meaning.

Ben Garrett is a journalist from East Tennessee. He is publisher of the Independent Herald, a weekly newspaper serving the Big South Fork region of the Cumberland Plateau, with a sideline in website development and digital marketing. He is also an erstwhile blogger.

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