Do cats eat their owners’ dead body? Tabby cat with wide open mouth on pink background.
(Photo Credit: kelly bowden | Getty Images)

Will My Cat Eat Me if I Die Alone?

Have you ever wondered what your cat might do in the event of your untimely death, especially if you live alone? While it may seem grim to contemplate, the increasing prevalence of solo living and indoor pets has left many pondering whether a house cat might resort to eating their owner’s dead body to survive.

Do studies suggest cats will eat your dead body?

According to Inverse, cat behavior expert Dr. Mikel Delgado emphasizes that cats — unlike dogs — are primarily hunters and not scavengers. Yet, research conducted at the Forensic Investigation Research Station (FIRS) in Colorado discovered surprising evidence. FIRS, which examines decomposition in donated human bodies, found cases where feral cats scavenged bodies. The cats not only indulged once but returned repeatedly to feast until the decay became too much. However, researchers stress the small number of these cases limits their ability to draw solid conclusions.

Understanding why pets might consume deceased owners involves delving into feline instincts. Contrary to some alarmist media reports, Delgado posits the primary motivation might not always be hunger. Instead, it might be a misguided attempt by the pet to rouse or revive their unresponsive human.

Some evidence, though, suggests many pets do succumb to hunger-driven cannibalism and, in some cases, die of starvation. Importantly, this is not limited to cats; there have been recorded instances of dogs, and even a hamster, engaging in such behavior.

In a world where humans often consume animals, and in extreme situations, resort to cannibalism, it may not seem wholly shocking for your cat might eat you in a dire scenario. Circumstances could drive cats, being natural hunters, to consider an unmoving body as a potential source of food.

Is your cat different? Will your pet eat your body if you die at home?

The question persists: But will your beloved pet cat indeed eat your dead body?

Interestingly, Vanessa Spano from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists asserts most domestic cats will probably not prey on their adult human owners. The true reasons behind the sporadic incidents of post-death nibbling — whether due to hunger or an instinctual reaction — remain largely unknown.

That said, should such an unfortunate situation arise, it is perhaps a comfort you could still contribute to your pet’s survival even in death.

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