Alarmed after the grisly discovery of eight dead cats in two weeks, Lawrence police suspect that someone may be trapping strays and smashing their skulls.

All the dead cats have been found in the northern part of Lawrence, near Greenwood and Lowell streets, said Police Chief John J. Romero. There were no visible marks, mutilation, or blood on any of the animals.

Police got a call Wednesday about the eighth dead cat and called for a necropsy of the animal to determine the cause of death, he said.

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“We just got the results back that the animal had a fractured skull,” Romero said. “Eight cats would not have been hit by cars in two weeks in the same neighborhood.”

Had the cat been hit by a car, it would have trauma to the side of its head, but the necropsy revealed injuries to the top of the animal’s head, indicating that it had been hit with an object forcefully, Romero said.

“Knowing that, we assume the other seven met the same fate,” he said. “Perhaps we have somebody going around there killing these animals.”

Romero said the cats are most likely strays, which means the suspect must trap them before killing them.

“As far as we can tell, these are not pets,” he said. “Cats are not easy to corner. Somebody is out there looking for them, could be luring them with some food.”

Police urged anyone with information to call the Lawrence Police Department before the violence escalates.

“Cruelty to animals can escalate,” Romero said. “We haven’t seen anything of this scale.”

Police originally thought the cats were being poisoned.

“The concern is the level of aggression,” Romero said. “Now we’re thinking someone’s actually killing these animals and not with poison.”