Published: 10:44, 06 August 2019
| Updated: 15:53, 06 August 2019
A heartbroken family has spoken out after their beloved pet cat was found decapitated on a drive way in Folkestone.
Forest, a Norwegian Forest cat, was reported missing from his home in the West End Quarter, off Shorncliffe Road, on Wednesday after failing to come in the night before.
But sadly the three-year-old pedigree was discovered around a mile away, dead and his body mutilated.
His owners, Kate and Shaun Floydd-Smith, were on holiday in Portugal at the time and only learnt the true extent of their much-loved pet's horrific death on their return when a vet said his death was "suspicious".
They are now appealing for information about what happened to him, and are warning other pet owners about keeping their animals inside at night.
Mrs Floydd-Smith said: "My goddaughter was house sitting for us while we were away. He was a pet and we loved him and couldn't bear putting him into a cattery.
"She let Forest out Tuesday but he didn't come back in.
"He never stays out at night. When he didn't come back by Wednesday morning she knew instantly something was wrong.
"She reported him missing to Folkestone and Hythe Cats Protection and launched an appeal on Facebook and Instagram, and everyone was sharing it. She did everything she could.
"But we think some horrible nasty person picked him up in the alley way and carried him off and mutilated him."
Forest was discovered headless on Wednesday morning by a woman on her driveway in Grimston Avenue, who immediately called the police and the RSPCA.
Officers from the animal charity took his body to the Hythe Vet Centre and he was examined by veterinarian Colin Armstrong.
After an examination, the vet discovered "the skin around his neck had been cut clean and straight".
He also had a degloving injury (missing skin) over his right hind leg, spinal and hock fractures and small pebbles "stuck to his wounds".
Mr Armstrong said he could put the other injuries down to a "large trauma", such as a car accident, but not the clean neck incision.
Mrs Floydd-Smith, mum to Tiger-Lily, 7, said: "The woman who found him was devastated. I felt so sorry for her.
"The vet said it was very suspicious circumstances - he said it was not an animal attack, and he wasn't hit by a car.
"We still haven't found his head, we've been looking for it."
As Forest was micro-chipped, staff at the vets were able to call the family on Friday and let them know he had died, but didn't reveal the true horrors while they were still away.
"The community where we live is distraught. Everyone is on high alert now and worried it will happen again..." Kate Floydd-Smith
It was Sunday night on their return that they learnt what really happened.
Mrs Floydd-Smith, who paid £950 for Forest as a kitten, said: "My daughter is devastated.
"This has affected everyone - my husband, my mum, my daughter's friends, our neighbours, our work colleagues.
"The community where we live is distraught. He was such a friendly cat and everyone loved him.
"Everyone is on high alert now and worried it will happen again.
"We are speaking out because we want everyone out there to put their cat in at night.
"We are also offering a £1,000 reward to anyone who might know who was behind this. We don't want this happening again to another family."
Jenny Wolfe, from Folkestone and Hythe Cats Protection, who helped support the family in the past week, said: "It just makes you feel sick that someone could do this to a defenceless animal.
"There are no words. Our advice to pet owners is to always keep their animals in at night."
Forest, the family's only pet, will now be cremated.
A RSPCA spokeswoman said: "This would have been very distressing for the person who found this cat and the owner of Forest who must understandably be devastated by the loss of their beloved pet.
"Thankfully deliberate cruelty against cats is rare and in many cases the cause of death is often predation from other animals or a road traffic accident.
"However, we are aware of this and take all concerns about animal cruelty very seriously and if anyone has any further evidence about this specific incident then please call us on 0300 1234 999.”
In September 2018 the remains of another cat were found in Cheriton Road, Folkestone, sparking fears the so-called Croydon cat killer had turned his attentions to the town.
A police spokeswoman said: "Kent Police is making enquiries to establish the circumstances following a report of a cat found dead with severe injuries in Grimston Avenue, Folkestone on Wednesday, July 31.
"The cat had been missing since the evening of Tuesday, July 31."
Anyone with information should call Kent Police on 101 quoting the reference number 05-1550.
More by this authorSam Williams