Warning: pet people like me might not want to read this.
I had a disquieting morning - I was walking my dog and he started pulling strongly at the lead into a large area of grass. I thought he was just excited to pee, but he lead me straight to something pretty... gruesome.
It was a dead cat that had clearly been gotten to by coyotes in the area (Southern california in a neighborhood close to some wilderness/mountain areas). I'm a pet person... maybe this isn't much to some people, but to me it was very disturbing.
Don't read this if you like cat's - writing this partially to get this off my chest because I haven't really spoken to anyone about it except my wife and I spared her the details.
It was a cats head. An outdoor cat I had seen around occasionally that wouldn't approach me.
More detailed description in the spoiler.
More to the point it was a cats face with everything chewed off the back of the skull. There was no body. It was facing away from me so I couldn't figure out what it was at first - my initial thought was actually that it looked like a mango-esque red fruit that had been partially eaten and that the pit was showing. Then I wondered why one end was furry. On the other side of it was the context to let it drop into place - a peaceful looking cat's face.
I said 'Oh fuck' quite loudly - a neighbor overheard from their balcony and came over. After some deliberation and talking about it with him, I disposed of it (I didn't touch it, and still washed my hands thoroughly
afterwards). If... there had been more of the cat, I probably would have called animal control or tried to figure something else out. And it was not the sort of thing I would have taken to the owner to possibly bury without really disturbing them. And this may be controversial here but this is what the 'help/advice' portion will be about - but the neighbor and I then came to the conclusion that telling the owner that their pet had been eaten by coyotes would be worse than thinking it had just run away or was lost.
Ok, so heres the question. There have been two other missing cat signs recently (they were not the cat I found). I have seen one additional outdoor cat (my wife and I tried to coax it over to us to take back to its home, but it ran away). Should I post signs to the effect of 'Coyotes in the area, keep pets indoors as they will get eaten'/'found cat eaten by coyotes, keep your pets indoors'? This would clearly make the people with missing cats (if they haven't found them) think they were eaten ... which personally I don't know if it is better than just thinking the cat is lost. And should I try and find the owner of the cat that I did find and tell them directly what happened?