A Cat Badly Injured Saturday Had Neighbors Worried About a Sadist But EPD Animal Control Officer Says There Is No Proof the Injury Was Caused by a Human

Joseph, the cat, in healthier times.

Joseph, the cat, in healthier times.

The story of a cat being skinned alive crept through the animal-loving community this weekend. The possibility of the animal having been tortured had pet owners keeping their cats inside. However, the Eureka Police Department Animal Control officer, Celeste Villarreal, explained, “I don’t want the animal community to panic. There is no proof that this was caused by a human or even intentional….According to the vet, it could have been caused by the cat being stuck in a fan belt or in a garage door.”

The incident began Saturday afternoon when Kimberly Bryant heard “screaming in the neighborhood.” She and her roommate “looked out the window and we saw the cat…It was shocking.” Neighbors were standing around horrified.

Large sections of the cat’s skin had been pulled off. “Everyone was like someone did something to the cat. The way the cuts were…we thought it was a human who had done it.”

The photos of the cat are here but please consider not viewing them as they are quite graphic.

Bryant’s roommate captured the cat. “We got it in a carry-on and took it to the vet,” she said. “It wasn’t even meowing. It seemed like it was in shock.”

The owners of the cat didn’t have much money, said Bryant. “It was horrid…. We had to make a decision if we wanted to pay for it or do a humane euthanization. I agreed to pay for half,” she said. However, in the end, another neighbor fronted the money for everything that needed to be done immediately.

“It was wonderful,” Bryant said. “They said they had been in the position before where they hadn’t been able to get their animals the vet care they needed.”

There is still a need for follow-up care though. If anyone would like to help, they can call Sunny Brae Animal Clinic at (707) 822-5124 and ask to add money to Kimberly Bryant’s account. “If there is money left over, it is going to go to help other animals when their owners can’t afford care,” she explained.

Bryant says that she has heard that there is no evidence that the cat was injured by a human. She hopes that is true. “I’d rather be wrong and that it was something else,” she said. “It really makes me nervous there could be someone out there could just do this.”

Animal Patrol Officer Villarreal said there is no need for animal lovers to “run around in a panic that there is an animal sadist.” She pointed out, “There is no proof [the cat’s skin] was cut; it could have been torn…In my experience as a groomer, that is the way that cat skin will tear.” She explained the phenomenon is called being “degloved.”

“There is zero evidence that it was done by a human,” she said. Nonetheless, she said, “There is a chance it was intentional…The biggest thing that can help is if everyone keeps their ear open. If it was something that was done by a human than we want to be aware.” The incident occurred near 13th and F Streets in Eureka on Saturday afternoon. If you have any information about this incident or another that you think deserves attention, please call 441-4327 to speak to Villarreal.

A community member has offered a $1000 reward should there be information that leads to the arrest of someone that did this.




  • Long ago we had a kitty who loved to climb up under the hood of our car. She did get caught in a fan belt and badly injured, but lived to tell the tale for many years. If that is a possibility it would not be that surprising.
    Poor kitty.

  • I’ve seen a cat degloved by an animal, there were teeth marks at the base where they grabbed hold and ripped. These photos appear very clean cut!!! This makes my stomach turn.

  • Kudos to the neighborhood for coming together! Way to take care of one another, thats the humboldt i know.
    I hope the kitty heals quickly and with ease.

  • I hope that the EPD is correct and that this was just a terrible accident. Still, I would be very interested in the details of how this would have been handled if the evidence had pointed to a human perpetrator. What protocol, if any, is in place for animal cruelty cases with no direct witnesses? Are there resources available to conduct a successful investigation?

  • So happy to see people get together to help this Kitty! You guys are angels!

  • Im a dog lover and not a cat lover, but seeing the pic brought tears to my eyes. Hoe this cat recovers quickly.

  • We had a cat that got a similar injury when he was hit by the fan of my dad’s old ’56 Chevy. He was sleeping on the engine for warmth. He recovered just fine. However his light fur grew back dark.

  • CatsArentWildlife

    Or don’t let your cats outdoors, as they are domestic house pets, I dunno.
    What kind of person lets a 10 lb animal out to combat cars, dogs, and crazy people? If you want to keep pretending like you care about your animal, try protecting it in the first place.

    • People seem to think anything their grandparents did couldn’t possibly be bad. Every major cat fancy organization agrees that cats should be kept indoors.

  • I caught a gang of neighborhood dogs, pits involved, skinning my backyard goat (McKinlyville). It was horrible, and they threatened me before leaving. Unfortunately, too late, I cut her throat to stop the pain, she half skinned, and she died in my arms.

    Keep your animals under control. I have nothing against pits, but I have know cat killer pits who were never abused. Just good fun, boys.

  • Cats should always be kept inside. There is nothing natural about an invasive predator being allowed to kill at will. It’s a much bettter life for the cats as well.

  • I love all animals ,and my heart is so sad for the kitty ..much kudos to the people that rescued the poor feline. You are good peoples glad tbere are still people like you in the world still .much love for the kitty .

  • Heaven help you if you ARE out there and DID hurt that tiny lion!!

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