A posting on social media site Nextdoor about the death of an Olympia cat renewed fears of a local cat killer. But Joint Animal Services has determined that an animal likely caused the cat's death.
The cat was found Wednesday in a yard near the 2900 block of Quince Street SE in Olympia, between Trillium and Watershed parks. Animal Services executive director Sarah Hock told The Olympian a veterinarian examined the cat's remains on Friday.
"Due to the nature of the injuries, including the way the muscle was ripped and the fracture, like splintering of bone, they concluded this was most likely an animal attack," Hock said.
As a result, Animal Services will not conduct an autopsy of the cat or further investigate this incident for now, she said.
Sofia Benford, 17, had shared a post about the death of her cat on Nextdoor. She wrote she believed a cat killer had murdered her cat.
The initial post garnered 327 reactions and 346 comments as of Monday. Other posts popped up on Nextdoor in response to the incident, but some have since been deleted.
The alleged cat killer Benford referenced caused fear in the community in 2018 when 13 dead cats were found in public places.
Seven of the killings followed a similar pattern in which the cat's spine was removed, but six others did not, The Olympian previously reported. While law enforcement investigated the cat deaths, a suspect has never been identified.
Olympia police responded to a report of a deceased cat found in a residential yard at about 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Lt. Paul Lower confirmed.
Lower said they could not determine what caused the cat's death and asked Animal Services to investigate.
Benford told The Olympian her cat had been found in a neighbor's yard. She said it appeared to have been decapitated and cut down the middle in a surgical manner. She offered a similar description in her initial Nextdoor post as well.
However, Hock said the cat's remains were not consistent with that description. She said the veterinarian did not observe any "lacerations per se."
"The way it was cut did not look like, to her (the veterinarian), that any kind of surgical instruments or sharp instruments in that fashion were used for that to happen," Hock said.
Although Animal Services will not continue to investigate the cat's death, Hock said they will keep track of similar incidents to determine if a wild animal may be preying on pets in the area.
She said she is unsure of what kind of animal may have caused the cat's death but noted recent dry conditions may draw animals into neighborhoods.
"In times of drought, wildlife does have a tendency to encroach, looking for water sources," Hock said. "It's good to be vigilant, especially if you have small pets, during this time of year."
Hock recommends residents keep their cats indoors, walk their dogs on a leash and keep an eye on pets when they are let outside for any reason.
"I would always recommend carrying something that makes loud noises," Hock said. "It can be pennies in an empty coffee can that you can shake or a loud noise that you can make if you do see something to scare them off."
Benford remembered her 2-year-old cat fondly when she spoke to The Olympian. She said her family named the cat Stinky after getting her at 3 months old.
"She was small for a cat," Benford said. "She was a calico, and she was really cute. She had kittens and we actually got to keep one of her kittens."
She said Stinky had nearly died from feline immunodeficiency virus but had since recovered.
"She survived and got to live normally after she was suffering so we thought she was really special and she was a survivor," Benford said.