Cats go missing in neighborhood, coyotes could be to blame

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Nine cats went missing in the course of two months in one Mid-Michigan neighborhood.

It’s what’s been reported in East Lansing’s Southwest Marble Neighborhood since June.

The killer is still officially a mystery but those who live out in the country probably have a guess.

Three people in the neighborhood say they've seen a coyote.

One neighbor even found the corpse of their cat not too long ago.

“We got him when he was 6 weeks old and we've had him ever since,” said Laura Hopkins, a cat owner.

13-year-old Houdini is an American shorthair cat and a proud member of the Hopkins family.

“I have two kids’ ages seven and nine and they just adored him,” said Hopkins. “They loved letting him in the house in the morning.”

One morning in August after spending the night outside Houdini never came home.

“My husband and the kids noticed right away,” said Hopkins.

It would stay a mystery for no longer than a day before a gruesome discovery was made.

“My husband was outside walking around the yard talking on the phone with a friend and the kids were outside playing,” said Hopkins. “He noticed something out in the neighbor’s yard next door and thought he should go take a look.”

Hopkins husband and kids came across Houdini’s mangled body.

“We had to say goodbye,” said Hopkins. “We had a little burial service for him in our backyard later that evening it was just a rough day for all of us.”

John Dinon from the Ingham County Animal Shelder says it wouldn’t surprise him if coyotes are taking the cats.

Coyotes are just about everywhere nowadays and they're thriving. They’re most active during dawn, dusk and the overnight hours.

“They've been known to pray on cats and dogs and other small animals,” said Dinon. “I think the story is keep your cats and keep your small dogs indoors there is something out there that is a risk to them.”

A word of advice echoed by the Hopkins family.

“We do co-exist with wildlife, it's all around us,” said Hopkins. “I would just advise pet owners as you interact with your pets something could happen at anytime.”

The Hopkins family is thanking the neighborhood for helping raise awareness about what’s happening. Without that they say they'd have no idea it was even a pattern.

The Michigan DNR says food sources are typically what will attract a coyote. Things like bird feeders, leaving trash outside and even pet food.

If you scare a coyote off, typically you won’t see it again.

Give the Michigan DNR a call if you have any further questions about coyotes at (517) 284-9453.