Nearly a dozen cats have been found dead in a Phoenix neighborhood in just two months. One cat owner, now wondering if something more sinister is happening.
He thinks his cats were poisoned.
"It was Chetara, then Billy, then Nix, then Princess," said Kevin Ashton. He found four of his cats dead in less than a week. He says losing Billy hit the hardest.
"If I'm ever feeling down he was always just the one that would come to me," he said. "He would sleep right here on my chest in the middle of the night."
Ashton and his family have lost ten cats since September, all showing the same symptoms in their final hours.
"Foaming from the mouth, lethargic, not able to walk, vomiting, stomach problems, and just rapid breathing, all those things," said Ashton.
With more than a dozen cats living in or outside their home in Phoenix's Longview neighborhood near 12th Street and Indian School Road, Ashton knows the optics may be tough to understand. However, he insists they strive to be responsible owners and mindful neighbors.
"Every time we get them spayed and neutered, we get them all of their vaccines and we try to keep them as close by as possible," said Ashton.
Phoenix police told Ashton officers cannot do much without "definitive evidence." If he loses another cat, Ashton says he plans to have a necropsy done, which is essentially an autopsy for an animal.
"I feel like it's not a coincidence," said Ashton.
While he doesn't want to believe someone could be so cruel, he hopes going public will lead to some answers.
"It's just really odd that they would start dropping like this out of nowhere," Ashton said.
Deliberately poisoning an animal is a felony so if you suspect something like that is happening, call police or the Humane Society.
There is also a chance this could be someone's way of keeping cats out of their yard. The Arizona Humane Society has these recommendations for natural and humane methods of repelling cats.