35 ‘Outdoor Cat’ Horror Stories

Thinking of letting your cat go outside without you? THINK AGAIN.

Below are 35 heartbreaking stories that highlight the dangers of leaving cats outside to roam the streets:

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A lifeless kitten was carried back to the nest of a family of eagles. The eaglets then proceeded to eat the kitten on a live webcam feed seen by scores of horrified viewers. While it is unknown whether this kitten was killed by the adult eagle in the video or died of another cause (such as being hit by a car or succumbing to a disease), we do know this: Cats are domesticated animals who rely on human guardians to keep them active, healthy, safe, and feeling loved. When left to roam outside unsupervised, they are at increased risk of a painful, traumatic death:

2. Shamokin, Pennsylvania

A cat allowed to roam outdoors was chased onto a porch and mauled by two dogs. Video footage captured at the scene appears to show the dogs’ owners doing little to stop the attack and callously walking away from the scene as the cat lay dying on the sidewalk. Cruelty-to-animals charges were filed against one of the men seen in the footage.

3. Clearfield, Utah

A Utah family was known to allow 6-year-old cat Sage to roam the neighborhood. But after going missing for days, he reportedly returned home with extensive injuries, including broken ribs and toes, facial wounds, and hot glue burns on his eyes, anus, and genitals. He died at a veterinary hospital the next day.

4. Post Falls, Idaho

Two cats who were allowed to roam outdoors without supervision were shot. Both cats were found by their owner badly injured and were taken to a veterinarian. One cat was reportedly beyond help after a “bullet went in and shredded his insides,” so he was mercifully euthanized. The second cat underwent surgery for a shattered femur and was recovering. The owner planned to file a formal police report, and no suspects had been identified.

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5. Portsmouth, Virginia

A concerned citizen called PETA about a feral cat who appeared to be in distress, panting and barely moving. When our fieldworkers arrived on the scene, they found a malnourished, dehydrated, lethargic, and battle-scarred cat with a grotesque eye injury. After trapping him and transporting him to our shelter, we found that he was also suffering from a severe upper respiratory infection, anemia, parasite infestations, and a mouth full of rotten and broken teeth that must have made it painful for him to eat.

6. Picayune, Mississippi

A cat who was allowed to roam outdoors without supervision was found by his owner with “blood pouring from his eyes, ears, nose and throat.” The cat was taken to a veterinary hospital where at least eight BBs were found lodged in his eye, head, and larynx. A witness reported seeing a local child shoot the cat while he was in a trap. The cat was expected to recover after having one of his eyes surgically removed. The incident was reported to the local sheriff’s department, which was reportedly in contact with the youth court.

7. Mentor, Ohio

Firefighters worked to rescue an apparently homeless kitten who had become stuck inside a drain pipe under a driveway. After being extricated from the pipe, the kitten was transported to a veterinary hospital for evaluation.

8. Denver, Colorado

An apparently homeless kitten had squeezed through a hole in some cinder blocks and become trapped in the basement of a home. After much searching and by following the animal’s cries, the homeowners found the kitten and planned to take him or her to a veterinarian.

9. Lebanon, New York

A cat who was allowed to roam outdoors without supervision was shot with a pellet gun. A police officer who responded to the report said that an X-ray showed a pellet lodged inside the cat’s leg. No additional details were given.

10. Rich Square, North Carolina

PETA fieldworkers recently spent several days trapping a dozen feral cats who were suffering from a variety of ailments, including upper respiratory infections, parasite infestations, and anemia. One cat had a golf ball–size wound on his face that reeked of infection and decaying flesh.

Cat, Rich Square

11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A kitten born under a shed had become trapped between the shed and a concrete wall. The owner of the property could hear the kitten crying but couldn’t get to the animal. Two emergency responders from a local fire station helped free the kitten. The kitten as well as the animal’s mother and siblings evidently remained homeless.

12. Bend, Oregon

Firefighters worked to remove an apparently homeless kitten from a 20-foot-deep dry well in which he or she had become lost or stuck. After the rescue, animal control officers transported the kitten to a veterinary hospital.

13. Fort Edward, New York

A homeless cat was found with an arrow through his upper neck. A woman who had been feeding the cat took the animal to a veterinarian’s office, where the arrow was removed. The cat was reportedly adopted, and authorities were investigating the incident. No suspects had been identified.

14. Riverside, Missouri

A homeless kitten was found bleeding and whimpering in a yard. The homeowner took her to a veterinarian’s office, where an examination revealed evidence that she had been repeatedly kicked, shot with a pellet gun, and intentionally burned with a chemical on her hindquarters, ears, and tail. She was also malnourished. The kitten was receiving treatment, and a worker at the veterinary clinic planned to adopt her. The kitten’s mother was reportedly spayed and released back into the yard where the kitten was found tortured. It wasn’t reported if police had been alerted, and no suspects had been identified.

15. Athens, Georgia

A cat who was allowed to roam outdoors without supervision was found bleeding from the abdomen under the owner’s porch. The cat was taken to a veterinarian’s office, where an examination revealed that the animal had been shot with a .22-caliber bullet. The cat was expected to recover. A police report was filed, and no suspects had been identified.

16. Galliano, Louisiana

Emergency responders from a local fire station worked for approximately 90 minutes to rescue an apparently homeless kitten who had become trapped inside the wall of a home. It was believed that the kitten had entered the residence through a hole in the attic. The rescued kitten was taken to the local animal control shelter, and the hole in the attic was repaired. Shelter Kittens

17. Middletown, New Jersey

A driver saw an apparently homeless kitten “holding on for dear life on top of [a] highway’s concrete median barrier.” Police shut down the highway for approximately an hour while officers worked with animal control to capture the terrified animal. The kitten was taken to a local animal shelter.

18. Polk County, Florida

Animal control officers and firefighters rescued an apparently homeless kitten who had fallen into a storm drain.

19. Houston, Texas

An apparently homeless cat was recovering after being shot with an arrow. Police, fire, and animal control officials rescued the cat from a culvert, and city veterinarians removed the arrow. Someone had reportedly adopted the animal, and authorities reportedly told a news outlet that “no one will be prosecuted for animal cruelty in this case because the cat was a stray.”

20. Callaway County, Missouri

A woman who had been feeding homeless cats in her yard found four of the animals dead and several others “vomiting and foaming at the mouth.” Poisoning was suspected. Authorities were notified, and no suspects had been identified.

21. Albuquerque, New Mexico

An apparently homeless cat was found gutted in a resident’s backyard. The homeowners believed that the animal was killed in a religious ritual. No additional details were provided. Police and animal control officials were investigating, and no suspects had been identified.

22. Littleton, North Carolina

A woman called PETA after a cat she had been feeding was attacked and mauled by a pit bull. Garfield was still alive—barely—but was suffering from a festering wound at the base of his tail that was crawling with maggots, among other gruesome injuries. We rushed him to a veterinarian and helped the impoverished woman pay for the cat’s merciful release from his agony.

Garfield

23. Oneida, Tennessee

An apparently homeless kitten was being treated at a veterinary hospital after being found trying to escape a brush fire. She had difficulty walking because of burns to her feet. She was expected to recover and be put up for adoption.

24. Greensboro, North Carolina

A car that was driven from Kentucky to North Carolina was taken to an automobile dealer for an inspection after the occupants heard the cries of kittens under the hood. Two separate litters of kittens were found in a plastic compartment in the car’s engine. The animals were taken to a local veterinarian and then transferred to an animal shelter, which put them in foster care. One of the kittens reportedly died, some were adopted, and some were still up for adoption.

25. Sheffield Township, Ohio

Four kittens were found fatally shot in the head and neck and left in a box next to a driveway. Neighbors were trying to capture the mother cat, who was apparently homeless and didn’t appear injured. A report was filed with the sheriff’s office, and no suspects had been identified.

26. Charles City, Iowa

A cat who was allowed to roam outdoors without supervision was attacked and killed by two dogs who were also roaming without supervision. A neighbor reportedly heard the cat screaming and witnessed the attack. Each dog held one end of the cat, and the dogs were “ripping her to pieces.” The dogs were captured by police officers and taken to a local animal shelter. The dogs’ owner was charged with animal control violations.

27. Phoenix, Arizona

An apparently homeless cat was found bleeding and terrified, trapped in fencing on a ledge along a busy freeway. He was rescued by a good Samaritan who took him to a local animal shelter, where veterinarians reportedly found that he was suffering from “severe trauma,” including a burn to a front leg, blood crusted in and around his nostrils, and a severely injured jaw.

28. Clarksburg, West Virginia

A cat who was allowed to roam outdoors without supervision was shot. He was found by his owners crying with a hole in his back and a pellet lodged near his spine. He was apparently under veterinary treatment and had “limited use of his hind legs and tail.” It wasn’t reported if police were investigating, and no suspects had been identified.

29. Richmond, Indiana

Authorities were investigating after a good Samaritan found an apparently homeless cat badly injured in a trailer park. The cat was taken to a veterinary hospital, where an examination revealed that the animal had sustained severe burns “down to the muscle on the cat’s chest” and that one “leg was burned to the bone.” The cat was mercifully euthanized, and no suspects had been identified.

30. Lawrence, Kansas

Police were investigating after an apparently homeless cat underneath a mobile home was struck by an arrow, pinning the animal to the underskirt of the structure. The cat was rescued by a local humane society representative and rushed to an emergency veterinary hospital, where the animal had to be euthanized because of the severity of the injuries. No suspects had been identified.

31. Woodford County, Kentucky

A cat who was apparently allowed to roam outdoors without supervision was found inside a car’s engine and sustained burns to his tail. He was recovering at a local animal shelter and was expected to be put up for adoption if his owner didn’t come forward.

32. Sedgwick, Kansas

A homeless cat was taken to a veterinarian after being shot with an arrow. The arrow, which went through the side of his cheek and about an inch behind his eye, was removed at the veterinary hospital, and he was recovering. Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to contact the police department. No suspects had been identified.

33. Ronkonkoma, New York

Three kittens were found killed in an industrial area where a woman feeds colonies of homeless cats. The kittens had been decapitated and were lined up next to each other. Authorities were investigating, and no suspects had been identified.

34. Plattsburgh, New York

A cat who was allowed to roam outdoors without supervision was found by her owners covered with blood. She was taken to a veterinary hospital, where X-rays revealed that she had been shot. Metal was embedded in her flesh, and the bone in one of her legs was shattered. She was expected to survive. Police were investigating, and no suspects had been identified.

35. East Naples, Florida

Three cats who had been allowed to roam outdoors without supervision were found dismembered. A sheriff’s deputy responding to a report believed that a machete or an ax was used to chop the animals in half. Authorities were investigating, and no suspects had been identified.

If you care about cats, keep them safe indoors!

Please remember: These are only the stories that were covered by the media or reported to PETA. Can you imagine how many similar incidents happen every day that we don’t hear about? You can read more here, but be warned: The images contained on the page are graphic. If you’re thinking of adopting a cat, please support only shelters that don’t turn animals away.

Already have a cat at home? There are plenty of ways to keep your cat happy and healthy indoors as well as ways for you to explore the outdoors together safely.

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Want to start helping cats right away? Share this page on Facebook and Twitter to let everyone know that cats are safest and happiest indoors.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind