National Geographic has the facts on whether your dog would eat you, and those facts are slightly horrifying. Forensic research found that in at least a few cases, dogs ate parts of their recently deceased owners' faces, even when they had access to their dog food. Thanks for the loyalty, jerks.
But what about cats? They never claimed to be man's best friend. Plus, cats are true carnivores, meaning they need meat in their diet to survive. These facts did not bode well for our delicious human corpses, I hypothesized.
I asked Mikel Delgado, a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and co-owner of Feline Minds, if she thought our cats would feast upon us if we died at home.
Delgado believes it's possible that a cat would eat their deceased owner if the cat had no other source of food. In fact, she told me, an animal shelter she used to work for took in a cat whose owner had died, and the rumor was the owner's nose had been "nibbled on," though there was no proof.
Plus, cats can't survive without food for very long — two weeks at most, and that's only if they have access to water. "My guess is that they might taste their owner fairly early on," Delgado says. "We have to accept that we are animals too, and thus, we are a source of meat (probably not very tasty) for other animals, especially if they are starving."
I asked her if a cat would eat us if they were not starving, like in the case of the traitorous dogs mentioned in the National Geographic article. Delgado says without data, there's no way to be sure. And it is very difficult to find data on the subject. Google searches pull up plenty of disgusting urban legends and a few sensational news stories, but no data on the behavior of cats around human bodies when they have access to cat food.
"It's entirely possible that we might taste good to cats and they would eat us sooner," Delgado says, "but I'm not sure what would motivate that!"
Good enough for me. Thanks for nothing, dogs.