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A friend of mine is a former prosecutor for the Crown/State. He's observed that it was often harder to investigate whether a deceased person was murdered when they own cats because the cats will eat the corpse of their owner. He also observed that dogs will starve to death before they eat their owner.

While I don't doubt the veracity of his observations, I am wondering if is this a known phenomenon that can be generalized for all cats and all dogs, or just a sampling peculiar to his practice?

If so, one must admire the loyalty of the dog and the survival instinct of the cat!

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    practical testing could prove troublesome... – Mihai Rotaru Jun 10 '11 at 15:23
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    So... the next time I murder someone I need to bring along a bag of cats to clean up the mess... – MrHen Jun 10 '11 at 15:26
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    @MrHen - you need to be careful though, you could get into trouble. Animal rights activists might object because the animals might get sick by eating dead corpses. – Mihai Rotaru Jun 10 '11 at 15:29
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    Live corpses are the finicky cat's preferred choice. – horatio Jun 10 '11 at 17:58
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    Never heard of a person being maimed by a pack of wild cats. Though cats do like to lick your hand. Maybe they are just sampling so they can decide if you would be a tasty treat in the situation were right. – JohnFx Jun 11 '11 at 2:50
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Google "Dog eats Owner"

CNN

Pravda

Mail Online

It doesn't appear to be common, but then the circumstances in which this occurs aren't real common either as it requires someone dying in a confined area with a dog and not being discovered before the dog runs out of better pickings.

Though google also seems full of some crazy story about a dog saving a diabetic man by eating his toes (though links seems to disagree on where this happened and the number of toes)

  • I wonder if the dog would have stopped at the toes if it was a pitbull? – Randolf Richardson Jun 10 '11 at 19:03
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    Oh sure, dog eats man, that's news. But man eats dog.... wait, never mind:) – Monkey Tuesday Jun 10 '11 at 21:15
  • Doesn't really answer the question? – gerrit Nov 7 '12 at 16:31
  • The question asks if a dog will starve to death rather than eat it's owner. These examples prove otherwise. – Russell Steen Nov 7 '12 at 17:00
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    To clarify, the question is whether dogs will starve rather than eat their owners, and cats will eat them. The claim does not require that all dogs or all cats adhere to this behaviour. In setting such a standard one can close the case with one counterexample - as here - but that does not illuminate the general claim of general experiences that the prosecutor has seen. A better answer to this question would illuminate the general circumstances. FWIW, the claim is true according to at least two coroners, a prosecutor, a police officer, a judge, and a funeral home owner I have spoken with. – Brian M. Hunt Feb 22 '14 at 14:19

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