OTTAWA -- A coyote is now believed to be responsible for the deaths of several cats in Ottawa’s west end this month.

Ottawa police launched an investigation after seven cats were found deceased, sparking fears of a serial cat killer in the area.

On Thursday, police say a necropsy was conducted on one of the deceased cats at the University of Guelph Animal Health Laboratory in Kemptville.

"(It) determined that the cause of death was a predatory attack, most likely by a coyote," said police.

"The analysis also pointed to similar findings with respect to the other cats."

The Ottawa Humane Society had offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest after Ottawa police reported several cats were found dead in the west end.

Ottawa Humane Society president and CEO Bruce Roney says there is "some relief" knowing that a person is not behind these killings.

"But it doesn’t change the fact that these cats suffered a horrendous death and that the safest place for a cat is indoors," said Roney in a statement.

"We are pleased to see how seriously both the community and OPS treated this case. Our hearts go out to the people who lost a beloved pet during these past few weeks."

On June 15, two cats were found dead in the area of Woodroffe Avenue and West Hunt Club Road. Police said signs suggested the animals were intentionally abused and killed. 

Two other similar incidents were also reported, with police saying they occurred either within city of Ottawa park space, or along bike paths or hydro corridors in the area bounded by Greenbank Road, Baseline Road, Merivale Road and Hunt Club Road. 

On June 18, police set up a tip line after two more cats were discovered in the area.

A seventh cat was found deceased on June 21 in the area of Woodroffe Avenue and Knoxdale Road.

Police say the investigation into the deaths is now closed.

The Ottawa Humane Society is recommending pet owners keep their pets inside.

The $5,000 reward offered for information in the investigation will now be directed back to animals to provide life-saving care and shelter for animals in need.