Feral Cats Raid “Body Farms” to Eat Human Corpses

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I know what you’re thinking: “What the hell are body farms, and why wasn’t I warned about this?”

Well, just chillax for a second. A body farm is not a patch of land where acres of corpses are planted to eventually emerge from the ground as flesh-eating ghouls (at least not as far as I know). Instead, the “farm” in question is one of many research facilities where forensics experts, criminologists, archaeologists and other scientists can study the effects of natural decomposition on the human body. But one such facility in Whitewater, Colorado is attracting more than the scientifically curious – it’s becoming an unintentional outdoor diner for scavenging feral cats.

Newsweek reports that a team of researchers from Colorado Mesa University confirmed at least two separate incidents of homeless felines chowing down on the soft tissues of human cadavers on the premises, which are deliberately exposed to the elements – including carrion-eaters – with only fences and wire enclosures to keep the larger scavengers out.

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Image: Boksi/Wikimedia Commons

But the research team points out this is very unusual behavior – even for hungry feral cats, which normally hunt live prey.

The team reported that two donor bodies – one male, one female – had been laid out on the facility’s grounds shortly after their deaths… and in less than a week, feral cats began munching on the corpses.

“Scavenging began when the bodies showed early signs of decomposition and ended at the onset of moist decomposition,” the team posted last November in the Journal of Forensic Science. This led them to speculate that the cats preferred dining on “fresher” bodies, but they pointed out that two isolated cases aren’t enough evidence to draw this conclusion… yet.

True wildcats – mostly bobcats – have exhibited similar scavenging behavior at body farms, but this is apparently the first reported case of domestic cats raiding these facilities for a midnight snack.