UPDATE: Button was hit by a vehicle and killed, according to Randall Brown, field services manager with Multnomah County Animal Services.
Animals scavenged the cat's body for meat, Brown said. They were likely raccoons or coyotes.
A necropsy was performed at Oregon State University. It showed tear marks on the cat's body were clearly caused by other animals, not a human or a knife, said Brown.
Original story below.
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Southeast Portland woman was horrified Sunday evening when she was walking to a nearby store and found her cat dead on the grass, decapitated.
Joelle said the found her 3-year-old cat, Button, just before 7:30 p.m. on Southeast 28th Avenue, lying in the grass with her paws pointed toward the road and her head placed on the ground.
"I saw black in the grass and I was concerned it was Button," she said. "I took another look and I was like, 'There’s white on there, I don’t think it’s Button.' And I took a closer look and said, 'It’s not white, that’s her skin."
She was traumatized and asked a neighbor, Miranda Keenan, for help.
"She came back to me and said, 'I don't think an animal did this,'" Joelle said.
The cut was clean and there was no blood on the ground nearby.
"I don't think an animal did this," Keenan said. "It was just too clean. And the fact that there's not any blood underneath the animal and I don't know a single animal that would carry the head and body separate, and then set them back down beside each other."
Keenan took the cat to the Multnomah County Animal Shelter, where they agreed the death was suspicious and opened an investigation.
"If a human did that, I hope they find him and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law," Keenan said.
Joelle is concerned that someone nearby would do something so violent. It's a concern shared by one of her neighbors, Chuck McCarty.
"If there is somebody in the area doing this sort of thing, it’s a big concern," he said. "Cats could go to dogs, could go to kids, who knows. Anything like this should be a concern."
McCarty said he found another decapitated cat on the same block as Button, the day before Button was found killed.
He noted there are a lot of cats in the area, and he's worried about his dog, so he and his neighbors will be more watchful moving forward.
Joelle said she's having a hard time staying in the neighborhood after it happened.
"I still think she’s going to come home and it’s still terrifying to think about at night because I can’t sleep," she said. "Every shadow, every dark rock, it looks like her. I don’t want other people to have to experience what I’m experiencing."
Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said officers also took a report on July 3 of a cat killed near Southeast Raymond Street and 79th Avenue. He said it appeared to be cut in half, just behind its shoulders.
"In many cases, these are actually the result of an animal attack rather than a psychopathic animal abuser."
Correction to the video report: Portland police told KGW after this report aired that they had confused this decapitation report with another similar report in SE Portland, where a cat was cut nearly in half just behind the shoulder. Police never received a report about Button. In many cases, Sgt. Pete Simpson said, the cats are likely killed by a coyote, "rather than a psychopathic animal abuser."