Twenty-seven cats have been killed and disembowelled in Manenberg since June, according to the Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS).
The AWS has sent the bodies of four cats to be autopsied. One of the animals had also had its heart removed.
According to the organisation’s spokesman, Allan Perrins, AWS staff found the latest cats, dead in Irvine Street and in Duinefontein Road in the early hours of Sunday August 1. On Friday July 30, the AWS found a dead cat in Twister Road, Manenberg, and the day before, they found a cat completely disembowelled, in Duinefontein Road, while on their way to exhume the bodies of three cats. Those three bodies, along with the first cat found in Duinefontein Road, have been sent for autopsy at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in Stellenbosch.
Manenberg police spokesman Captain Ian Bennett said they were not investigating as none of the cat killings had been reported to the station.
“At the moment, I can’t comment on anything as I don’t have any information. No case has been opened,” he said.
Mr Perrins said three possibilities were behind the cats being killed and disembowelled: a Satanic ritual, gang initiation or a deliberate act of cruelty. He said he was appalled that the Manenberg police had not yet begun investigating the crimes.
“These cats were not killed accidentally or by a dog or another animal, as there are no bite wounds but a slit right down their bodies. This is the work of an extremely evil person/s out there,” he said.
The killer or killers could face jail time, a fine, and deprivation of ownership of animals if found guilty.
The cats’ gruesome deaths have shocked the Manenberg community.
In March, Manenberg resident Faiza Jacobs’s cat vanished, and the next day, neighbours also complained that their cats were missing. On Thursday June 10, Ms Jacobs’s second cat went missing. One of the neighbours later found the cat in their yard. It had been disembowelled.
On Saturday July 24, Ms Jacobs’s third cat, 10-month-old Ash, also went missing. On Sunday morning, one of the neighbours found the cat in their yard, and Ms Jacob’s daughter-in-law, Kauthar Galant, went to have a look.
“Ash was slit open from her throat right down her body. Her anus and vagina were ruptured and swollen, and her intestines were all lying out of her body. Her heart was also removed,” said Ms Jacobs.
The incidents have left the family traumatised.
Ms Jacobs has been self-isolating after being diagnosed with Covid-19, but she said she would lay a charge at the police station once she was out of isolation.
Manenberg resident Abdul-Karriem Adams found a disembowelled cat outside of his home in Dwyka Street on Thursday July 15. That morning, three other residents told him that they too had found cats in their yards with their stomachs slit open.
“It is very sad and gruesome that this is happening,” Mr Adams said. “These cats cannot speak for themselves, so we need to fight for justice for them. If they can do this to animals, what can they do to humans?”
Mr Adams said the cat owners needed to lay charges at the police station. He said he could not do so as he was not the owner of one of the slain cats.
“The owners are not prepared to lay charges at the station but they need to. Some people say that it was a dog killing the cats, but then the cats would have wounds on their necks. This is someone with a knife because there is precision cutting,” he said.
Jacque le Roux, a nurse at the AWS, said: “This is one of the most horrific things we have ever come across. Our jaws have dropped to the ground in shock. We plea with residents to please let us know if they see anything, and urge cat owners to keep their cats indoors and remain on high alert. All information will be treated as anonymous.”
The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa is offering a reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the cat killer. Anyone with information can call the AWS on 021 692 2626 or 082 601 1761.