What Everett police previously believed was the intentional mutilation of area cats now appears to have been the work of an animal predator, the department has announced.

After receiving complaints about dead and dismembered cats starting in June, department officials thought other animals were responsible, they said earlier this month. However, a subsequent veterinary examination suggested the cats had been intentionally mutilated, the department added.

Police no longer think a human was responsible, they said Friday, with a second feline necropsy showing “signs that a predatory animal attack caused the death, with postmortem scavenging of the body.”

Based on case reviews and tips, the detective assigned to the case was not led to believe someone was mutilating the cats, according to a Police Department news release.

“With the new information and review of prior cases, the department does not believe a human is intentionally killing and mutilating cats,” according to police. They added they do not know what type of animal is responsible.