Blame coyotes, not humans, for at least one recent cat-killing in Kamloops.
Lorie Chortyk of the B.C. SPCA said Friday a renowned veterinarian who also studied the corpses of the Whistler sled dogs has concluded the recent spate of cat killings in Vancouver – and one in Kamloops — was the work of predator animals.
Three cat mutilations were reported in Kamloops, but only one body was submitted for necropsy examination. Photographs of that body were sent down to the SPCA in Vancouver, where forensic veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck looked at them along with 29 other animals or parts found in the Lower Mainland in recent weeks.
Chortyk said Merck concluded that the photos of the Kamloops cat showed signs of teeth marks on some of the flesh and bone of the mutilated feline.
“Definitely from the photos, she said the one from Kamloops was (killed by a) predator,” she said. The SPCA has had two other reports of cats killed in Kamloops, but the bodies disappeared after they were initially discovered.
Most of the dead animals appeared to have been cut by a sharp instrument. But Merck explained to SPCA officials that coyotes can silently sneak up on a cat, grab it and bite it in half, leaving part behind.
“The cat wouldn’t have seen it coming,” she said.
“That’s why it’s confusing. On the under side of some of the skin and bones you can see the patterns of the teeth.”
Usually, predators are expected to leave behind tufts of fur, or the cats have some coyote/predator fur under their claws.
In the absence of those clues, and clean cuts on the bodies, predators were being ruled out, Chortyk said.
“Other factors, such as the nature and the angle of the skin tears and puncture marks and patterns left by canine molars in underlying skin tissue and bone, can provide more conclusive evidence,” Merck said in a press release, adding coyotes are stealthy predators, usually attacking quickly and silently.
“It is not unusual for them to bite their prey in the middle and run off with half the body in their mouths, which would explain the number of cat bodies which were found in exact halves on lawns or in parks.”
Reports of the Kamloops cat killings prompted the local Crime Stoppers branch to put out a call for tips.