Postmortem predation by a clowder of domestic cats

Abstract

A 69-year-old man was found lying on the floor at his home address. According to the police report every room was filled with refuse and “thirty or so cats” were resident in the house. The body showed signs of extensive post mortem animal predation with opening of the chest and abdominal cavities, loss of soft tissues of the face, loss of soft tissues and organs of the neck, loss of the lungs and heart, and injuries to the liver, right kidney, stomach, transverse colon and cecum. The cause of death could not be determined from the autopsy given the absence of certain vital organs such as the heart and lungs, and the presence of early putrefaction. The case shows that considerable soft tissue, bone and organ loss may occur when a number of animals work in concert. The collective term for such a group of cats is a clowder. The extent of post-mortem damage from animal activity therefore relies not only on the species involved, but also the numbers of participating animals.

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Correspondence to Roger W. Byard.

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Byard, R.W. Postmortem predation by a clowder of domestic cats. Forensic Sci Med Pathol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12024-020-00304-6

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Keywords

  • Post-mortem predation
  • Animal activity
  • Cats
  • Clowder
  • Cause of death