‘Croydon cat killer’ mystery solved – how can we keep our pets safe from cars and foxes?

The Croydon cat killer doesn't exist. Cats were being run over and mutilated by foxes
The ‘cat killer’ didn’t exist – cats were being run over and mutilated by foxes ©Erwin Voortman on Unsplash

Scotland Yard has revealed that the so-called ‘Croydon cat killer’ never actually existed. They believe the cat killer mystery is all down to two things – cars and foxes. How can we keep our cats safe from these dangers?

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Cat lovers around the world were outraged at the supposed Croydon cat killer, the terrifying criminal who was believed to have decapitated cats across the UK. But Scotland Yard has announced that experts ruled that the cats were actually being run over by cars – before having their bodies mutilated by foxes.

The Metropolitan Police revealed to The Independent: “The cats were killed due to major blunt-force trauma consistent with vehicle collisions. Scavenging foxes then mutilated body parts – especially heads and tails,”

And while we’re pleased that the horrible vision of a cat-killing maniac isn’t true, the outcome is equally as worrying – so how do we keep our pets safe from cars and foxes?

Should my cat stay indoors to stay safe?

Croydon cat killer doesn't exist - cats were being run over and mutilated by foxes
Ideally, cat shouldn’t be kept indoors ©Serhat Beyazkaya. Unsplash

Ideally, healthy cats should be let outside and not kept indoors all day. But if you decide to do this, you need to create an extremely stimulating indoor environment for them.

If they’re bored, they might show their frustration by behaving badly, damaging furniture or not using the cat litter box. And no one wants an unhappy kitty!

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Louise Lee of the Blue Cross animal charity suggested to The BBC “wrapping their biscuits in edible rice paper and hiding them around the house” to simulate hunting. She also notes that scratching posts and toys need to be provided.

Is it common for cats to get run over by cars?

It’s difficult to say. No law currently exists which makes it mandatory for a person to report a dead cat or for cat owners to fit their pet with a microchip. This means the cause of a missing cat is not always clear – so figures aren’t exactly accurate.

Sometimes, missing cats may have moved into someone else’s house. If a cat becomes injured, they’re often taken into a shelter as a stray and rehomed.

And of course, sometimes cats are run over and never found by their owner. If a council in the UK finds a dead cat, they can legally dispose the body without informing the owner.

How can I protect my cat from being run over?

The Croydon cat killer doesn't exist - cats were being run over and mutilated by foxes
Cats love the outdoors – but how can you prevent them from being run over? ©Chris Yang on Unsplash

We’d always recommend allowing your cat to go outside, no matter how fearful you are. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent your cat from being hit by a car:

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  • Use a reflective collar
  • The RSPCA suggests installing cat-friendly fencing, which prevents them from going further than the garden
  • Make sure your cat is microchipped so they’re easily identifiable
  • Get your cat neutered – when in heat, cats will try to mate and often venture far away to do so
  • Keep your cat in at night – but make sure there are plenty of toys available at night if you do this. Cats are true hunters at dawn and dusk, which may distract them from oncoming traffic

There are foxes in my area – should I be concerned?

Probably not. Caroline Ray, a vet at the Blue Cross, told the BBC that ‘she’s never seen a case of a living cat attacked by a fox’ and that she’d once seen her own cats chase off foxes – not the other way round!

The RSPCA claim that although there may be incidents between cats and foxes, it’s most likely that foxes will only prey on cats if they are already dead. In this particular case, the cats head had clearly been chewed off – it was just an easy meal for them.

If you ever hit a cat, make sure to stop and check it’s okay. If not, take is straight to a vet or call the RSPCA for help on 0300 1234 999.

Read also: A cat with extra toes and tummy becomes an online hit

I'm a Digital Media & Marketing graduate who lives in the beautiful area of North Wales. Since graduating, I've been working freelance as a copywriter and digital marketer. At the weekend, you'll find me taking and editing photographs, updating my blog (alicelang.net) or looking after my mischevious rescue cat, Mabel. I've loved animals for as long as I can remember. I've had pretty much every pet under the sun - cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, fish, stick insects - and have spent time volunteering at animal shelters in Asia.