September 2018 update: case closed
The Metropolitan Police have closed the investigation of over 500 cat deaths and mutilations stating they were "not carried out by a human". The deaths have been attributed to predators, mainly foxes, and cats being hit by cars.
The decision to close the three-year case has caused an uproar among pet owners. Over 20,000 people have signed a petition to re-open the investigation.
According to the Metropolitan police, 25 autopsies carried out returned no evidence of human involvement.
It also listed multiple cases of CCTV cameras capturing foxes moving body parts of cats.
SNARL, the voluntary organisation closely associated with the investigation of the case released a statement disagreeing with the police: "We consider that the evidence we have gathered over the last three years does indicate human involvement and there is expert opinion to back this up."
SNARL, says it will continue to investigate. "We now have the skills within our extended team to cover most of what the police would be doing anyway," said Boudicca Rising, co-founder of the charity.
Six days after the case was closed, another cat was found dead, this time in Beckenham.
Kent Police and SNARL will continue to investigate cat deaths.
The M25 / Croydon cat killer – What cat owners need to know
Police have finally released a description of a man they believe has killed and mutilated over 200 cats in London and other parts of the UK over the past three years.
The violent cat murders started in Croydon in 2014, which led the perpetrator to be labelled the Croydon cat killer.
Cases were later reported around several areas along the M25 motorway, leading some investigators and pet owners to use the name 'M25 cat killer'.
The body of a cat was found in Milton Keynes as recently as early September 2017.
With mutilated and decapitated cats now being found in cities around the UK it's believed the killer is on the hunt for cats across the country.
Who is the M25 or Croydon cat killer?
The Croydon cat killer suspect is a white man in his 40s with no distinctive accent, short brown hair and possibly an acne-scarred face, according to Surrey police.
The description was posted by SNARL, a cat rescue organisation that has been following the case closely. It offers regular updates on its Facebook page and only posts confirmed killings related to the case. As well as providing pet owners with information, it liaises with police.
SNARL says the suspect has been seen at a number of locations with variously, a headlamp, a torch, a backpack and a large man bag. He approaches cats with food and/or toys and makes 'kissing noises' at them.
He is believed to have killed and decapitated hundreds of cats around Croydon and along the M25. There have been cases reported in a number of other cities in the UK.
No human DNA has been found on the bodies of the cats found dead, making it difficult to identify the killer.
How many cats have been killed by the Croydon cat killer?
The exact number is difficult to estimate. Both SNARL and the RSPCA have reported about 100 cases. The Telegraph says that the police suspect the cat killer to be responsible for the deaths of 230 cats and foxes in London. Other sources, like The Guardian, report he is believed to have murdered around 250. Reportedly, he kills the cats with blunt force trauma before cutting off their heads and tails. It's not clear whether all the cats have been killed by the same person.
What you can do to protect your cat
If you're concerned about cat deaths in your area it may be worth keeping your cat inside, especially at night.
SNARL recommends that if you see anyone looking under vehicles and trying to lure cats in with food or toys you should call 999, quote Operation Takahe and report what you’ve witnessed.
Tell people in your neighbourhood about the M25 Cat Killer, inform your neighbourhood watch and every cat owner you know. You can download flyers created by SNARL to help spread the word. Contact SNARL with any information you might have.
There's a £10,000 reward for anyone who supplies evidence that leads to the arrest and prosecution of the serial cat killer.
You can also follow SNARL’s group on Facebook for news and information.
Buying a pet tracker is a great way to track your cat’s location.
What should you do if you find a mutilated cat in your area?
If you find a mutilated cat, call 101 and quote Operation Takahe.
Don’t touch or move the body in order to avoid contaminating the crime scene. This will help the authorities gain a more accurate picture of what went on and obtain physical evidence, e.g. DNA, footsteps, from the scene.
If you don't want to speak to the police you can call Tony or Boudicca from SNARL on 07961 030064 or 07957 830490.
Can pet insurance help if a cat goes missing?
Yes, policies that include cover for lost or stolen pets can help with the costs of searching for your pet.
If you have insurance and believe your cat is missing you may be able to claim the costs of advertising and a reward to help find your pet. Your insurer should also offer advice about the best way to look for your cat.
ManyPets pet insurance policies offer this cover.
If you face the difficult situation of your cat not returning or being found dead, pet insurance can pay out the value of your pet.
You can read our article on the best pet insurance for cats here.
We hope all your pets stay safe and the killer is caught soon.