Do Cats Eat Their Dead Owners?

Cats are often considered enigmatic creatures, with a reputation for being aloof and independent. But what happens when their owners pass away? Do they simply mourn or do they turn to something more gruesome? It’s a question that has been asked for centuries – do cats eat their dead owners?

Before you dismiss this as a macabre joke or an urban legend, consider this: many feline experts believe that cats have a natural instinct to eat dead animals. This behavior is ingrained in them from their wild ancestors who had to scavenge for food to survive. In fact, many pet owners have even caught their cats nibbling on a dead mouse or bird they brought in as a “gift.”

But what about their human owners? While rare, there have been instances where cats have been found nibbling on their deceased owners. So why does this happen? Is it out of hunger or just a natural instinct? And what are the potential dangers of this behavior for both the cat and any caretakers?

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the science behind cats’ natural scavenging instincts, explore the reasons why some cats may turn to eating their deceased owners, and discuss steps that can be taken to prevent this from happening. So sit tight and get ready to uncover the truth about whether cats really do eat their dead owners.

Is It Common for Cats to Eat Their Dead Owners?

While it is highly unlikely for cats to resort to such drastic measures, it is not entirely unheard of.

Cats are natural hunters and scavengers, relying on their instincts to survive in the wild. However, domesticated cats typically rely on their owners for food and care. In rare cases where a cat is left without food or water for an extended period of time after their owner has passed away, they may resort to eating their deceased bodies as a last resort.

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Moreover, the loss of their owner can cause significant stress and anxiety for cats. This disruption in their routine can lead to behavioral changes such as a loss of appetite. In extreme cases, a cat may even resort to cannibalism.

While it is essential to note that this behavior is not common, pet owners should have a plan in place for their pet’s care in case of an emergency or unexpected death. This includes ensuring that there is enough food and water for the pet and designating someone to take care of them if the owner is unable to do so.

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What Causes a Cat to Eat Its Dead Owner?

While it may seem disturbing, it’s crucial to understand that several reasons could cause a cat to engage in this behavior.

One possible reason may be related to a cat’s innate hunting instincts and prey drive. If the cat is hungry or if its regular food source is unavailable, it may view its deceased owner as a potential source of sustenance.

Another possible factor could be stress and anxiety. Cats thrive on routine and predictability, and the sudden loss of their owner can be traumatic for them. This can lead to stress and anxiety, which could manifest in unusual behaviors such as eating their deceased owner.

In addition, the overall health and well-being of the cat must be considered. Sick or malnourished cats may resort to consuming their deceased owner as a means of survival. Moreover, if a cat has a history of neglect or abuse, this could also contribute to such behavior.

While there may not always be an apparent explanation for why a cat engages in this behavior, pet owners should take proactive steps to prevent it from happening. Providing proper nutrition and veterinary care can decrease the chances of unusual behaviors such as eating their deceased owner.

In the event of an owner’s passing, having a plan in place for the care of any pets left behind is crucial. This can help alleviate any potential stress or anxiety that your feline friend may experience and prevent them from resorting to unusual behaviors.

Are Cats Predisposed to Eating Their Deceased Owners?

While this behavior has been reported in some cases, it is not a common occurrence among domesticated cats.

So why might a cat choose to eat its owner? One reason could be their natural hunting instinct. Domesticated cats may be fed on a regular basis, but their innate desire to hunt remains intact. Therefore, they may be more likely to attack small animals or insects than consume the remains of their deceased owners.

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Another factor that may influence a cat’s behavior towards its deceased owner is the level of attachment they have. Cats can form strong bonds with their owners and may even grieve their loss. So it’s possible that a highly attached cat may be less likely to consume their remains out of respect or emotional distress.

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But every cat is unique and may respond differently in these situations. Certain circumstances, such as if the owner has been deceased for an extended period of time or if the cat is starving and unable to find other sources of food, can increase the likelihood of them consuming their owner’s remains.

To prevent this from happening, pet owners must provide proper care and attention to their cats. Proper nutrition and veterinary care can help prevent stress and anxiety caused by sudden changes in routine or poor health. By ensuring that our pets are well taken care of, we can help prevent such behavior and ensure that they are happy and healthy even after we’re gone.

How Can Pet Owners Avoid This Risk?

But fear not, by taking some simple precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of this happening.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that someone is checking on your feline friend regularly. This could be a family member, friend, or professional pet sitter – as long as they provide your cat with food, water, and attention. Having a trusted individual check on your pet at least once a day can go a long way in reducing the likelihood of them resorting to desperate measures.

In addition, it’s essential to have a contingency plan in place in case of an emergency or unexpected absence. Leave detailed instructions for the care of your cat, including feeding schedules and contact information for a trusted individual who can check on the animal. By doing so, you can rest assured that even if something unforeseen happens, your pet will be well cared for.

Investing in automatic feeders or water dispensers that can be programmed to dispense food and water at specific times throughout the day is also highly recommended. This will ensure that your cat is receiving proper nourishment even if you’re not physically present.

Lastly, it’s vital for pet owners to understand the potential risks associated with leaving their cat alone for extended periods of time. While cats are relatively independent animals, they still require regular care and attention to maintain their health and well-being. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure that your furry friend has everything they need to stay healthy and happy.

What Can Pet Owners Do in the Event of an Emergency?

Your furry friend is more than just a pet – they’re a part of your family. But what happens if an emergency strikes? As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to have a plan in place to ensure their safety and well-being. Here are some steps you can take:

First, identify a trusted friend or family member who can take care of your pet if you’re unable to. Choose someone who knows your pet’s needs and is willing to provide the necessary care. It’s also wise to have a backup plan in case your first choice is unavailable.

Prepare an emergency kit with essential supplies such as food, water, medications, and any other items your pet may need. Keep the kit easily accessible and in a location that everyone in your household knows about.

Ensure that your pet is properly identified with collars and ID tags that have up-to-date contact information. Microchipping is another option for identification and can be helpful in reuniting lost pets with their owners.

Be aware of potential hazards in your home or surrounding area that could pose a threat to your pet during an emergency. This may include toxic chemicals, sharp objects, or areas where pets could become trapped or injured.


In conclusion, the idea of cats devouring their deceased owners may sound like a scene straight out of a horror movie. However, it’s not entirely impossible. Thanks to their innate scavenging instincts, which they inherited from their wild ancestors, cats can resort to cannibalism in extreme situations.

But don’t panic just yet. Domesticated cats typically rely on their owners for food and care and are unlikely to turn to such drastic measures unless left without sustenance for an extended period. That being said, the loss of their human companion can cause significant stress and anxiety for felines, leading to behavioral changes such as a loss of appetite or even cannibalism in rare cases.

As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to have a plan in place for our furry friends’ care in case of an emergency or unexpected death. This includes having someone check on your cat regularly, leaving detailed instructions for their care, investing in automatic feeders or water dispensers, and understanding potential hazards that could pose a threat during an emergency.

While this behavior is not common among domesticated cats, certain circumstances such as prolonged absence or poor health can increase the likelihood of them consuming their owner’s remains. Therefore, providing proper nutrition and veterinary care is vital.

In short, by taking simple precautions and ensuring that our feline companions receive adequate care and attention, we can significantly reduce the risk of them resorting to desperate measures.