Published: 14:00, 07 November 2017
| Updated: 14:04, 07 November 2017
A family is in mourning after their cat’s mutilated body was left in a neighbour’s garden - an act of cruelty thought to be linked to a notorious animal killer.
Tilly, a nine-year-old domestic shorthair, was found with her tail cut off in Whitmore Street, Maidstone last Monday.
Her owner’s daughter, who asked to remain anonymous, said it was clearly a deliberate, human act, and not simply the result of an attack by another animal such as a fox.
Talking about the heartbreaking discovery, the 28-year-old said: “It is devastating. We can’t believe someone would could do that.
“I can’t come to terms with the fact that someone got hold of her and inflicted that pain on her. I just hope she didn’t suffer too much.”
Now the family is hoping other pet owners will be on their guard, and keep their cats in overnight to avoid anyone else going through the same thing.
When bodies of cats with heads, tails and legs missing started being discovered in the London borough of Croydon in 2014, many assumed one person was responsible and dubbed them the Croydon Cat Killer.
“I can’t come to terms with the fact that someone got hold of her and inflicted that pain on her" - Tilly's owners
Hundreds of animals from a wider area have since been found with similar fatal injuries, including foxes and rabbits, leading to the culprit being re-named the M25 Animal Killer or UK Cat Killer.
South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL), which is working with the RSPCA and the police on the investigation, strongly suspects Tilly was killed by the same person, but cannot give confirmation without doing a post-mortem.
A spokesman said: “Our advice is to bring animals indoors, especially at night.”
It comes almost exactly a year after two-year-old Bengal, Rosie, was found mutilated in a similar way in Sutton Road. She was discovered just 200m away from her home, with her tail removed at the base.
There has been a spate of reports of unexplained animal deaths in Kent in the past month.
In the last week of October, Animals Lost and Found in Kent say they were alerted to two dead cats in Chatham, and another in Rochester – and that in each case the animals had been cut several times with a sharp blade.
Kent Police linked the death of five rabbits, found in a car park in Dartford on October 24, to the M25 Animal Killer, while last Monday, the same day as Tilly was killed, a dead cat was found in a seated position outside a house in Sittingbourne with parts of its body deliberately cut off.