October 18, 2005
Tasteful Toes

"I've been a vet for 40 years, but I've never heard of a single case where a cat has chewed off a person's toes. I could believe if it we were talking about a dog, because dogs could bit through the bones, but cats have sharp teeth that hurt when they bite, but make it physically impossible to chew through bone," Tokio Tonouchi, head of the Tonouchi Veterinary Clinic, tells Shukan Bunshun. "Even the way dogs and cats eat meat is different. Dogs chew it, but a cat is more likely to lick it for a long time until it wears down. Even if the cat were to have done what people are saying it has, there is no way it would ever eat the bones, too. If the cat has done it, you'd also be able to tell from the bite marks left on the foot."

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at October 18, 2005 08:11 PM

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Hard to say. While cats can't chew clear through healthy flesh, or healthy bones, it's entirely possible the woman's foot was anything but healthy. Flesh softens and bone weakens with age, and for a dementia sufferer unable to care for herself (and a nursing home too incompetant or corrupt to care for her), it's possible that, with enough fungal infections, her foot might not only have had the odor of cheese, but the consistency of it as well. For all the cat may have known, it could have been eating some unusually juicy cheese it found in the victim's bed.

Of course, toes so badly rotted would probably be spreading all sorts of nasty stuff through her body. By gnawing off the infected digits, the cat could have saved her life.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on October 19, 2005 10:25 AM

I have to disagree with some of this.

Cats can and will chew through healthy tissue. They are strict carnivores, hence the pointed teeth. Their teeth are meant for ripping and tearing while swallowing most of the tissues whole. Hence if your cat eats kibble and barfs it back up looking the same way- you know your cat swallowed it whole.

Most to all cats will not eat decayed tissues unless they are starved so bad they have no other choice but to eat it.

Posted by: ellen on October 19, 2005 12:31 PM

Well, so much for that theory.

Still, it brings us back to the possibility that the cat, coming across a person unable to defend herself, did in fact gnaw off her toes, or possibly gnawed off enough of the connective tissue that the bones in her toes fell off on their own.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on October 19, 2005 12:51 PM
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