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Foxes Implicated

DNA analysis has found that the cat-killers roaming London were mostly foxes, New Scientist reports.

It adds that between 2014 and 2018, about 300 cats were found dead in London, often in a mutilated, but clean fashion that led some to suspect human involvement. Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College analyzed the remains of 32 cats suspected of being victims of the so-called Croydon Cat Killer. As they report in the journal Veterinary Pathology, the researchers used a combination of DNA analysis, CT scans, and post-mortem analyses to determine how the cats died. They were able to uncover a cause of death for 81 percent of the cats, none of which suggested human involvement. Ten of the cats were killed by foxes, while eight died of natural heart or lung failure and six were likely hit by a car, New Scientist adds. The researchers further found that foxes likely also scavenged the cats after they were already dead, contributing to their mutilation.

"I hope that this new analysis provides some comfort to the owners who previously believed that their beloved pets had been targeted maliciously," Stuart Orton, East Hertfordshire Chief Inspector, says in a statement.