Published: 11:31, 29 April 2021
| Updated: 14:43, 29 April 2021
A young mum has spoken of her heartbreak after her pet cat became the latest suspected victim of a sick cat mutilator at work in Snodland.
Caesar, who had been missing since early March, was found dead in a neighbour's garden on Sunday. He had been stabbed and had his ears cut off.
The mutilation mimics the injuries sustained by two other cats killed last month: Felix was found with a slice down his spine at Holborough Lakes and had to be put down by a vet, while Storm, who had been missing from her owners for more than two weeks, was found dead in Sandy Lane, with her ears and tail cut off.
Victoria Smith, of Portland Place, said she had been devastated when Caesar first went missing - thinking he had just got lost - and had carried out a strident campaign to find him. She put up posters, made appeals on Facebook and went out on regular searches of the area, both day and night, to find him.
She said: "I looked in the place where neighbours found his body between a shed and an alley on many occasions. I know he cannot have been laying there long."
Ms Smith, a nurse, is certain Caesar's injuries were inflicted by a human. She said: "The cuts were too clean and precise. There were no chunks of missing fur or bite-marks to suggest he had been in a fight with another animal."
She described 12-year-old Caesar as a shy cat, who didn't venture far from home normally.
But he was also a loving animal. She said: "He would lie on my bed and wake me in the mornings by kissing my nose."
Boudicca Rising is an organiser for the South London Animal Investigation Network (SLAIN) which has been investigating the Snodland cat deaths and others across the country.
She said: "Now three cats have been found dead in six weeks within a two-mile radius in Snodland.
"The owner of the last cat buried him straight away, so we didn't get to examine him, but the injuries she reported sound consistent with the other two, which were definitely inflicted by a person and not the result of a car accident or fox attack.
"Somebody is out there carrying out these attacks and he needs to be caught."
She renewed an appeal for residents to check CCTV or doorbell cameras to see if there was any evidence that would help the police catch the offender.
She said: "We can't know whether the offender catches the cats and keeps them alive for some time before killing them, or whether they have already wandered off and got lost and that made them vulnerable to an approach from a stranger.
"But the fact that Caesar's body was found close to his home suggests some local knowledge."
Ms Smith said she and her neighbours had buried Caesar at once to save her two-year-old son Henry from seeing the body.
She said: "We have placed flowers on his grave and Henry and I go and talk to him every day when Henry comes home from nursery."
She has a second cat Chloe, who is Caesar's sister, but she said: "I'm now too frightened to even let her out."
Ms Rising said that sadly such attacks were not uncommon nationally.
She said: "We are aware of around 700 instances across the country in a five-year period. We did notice a reduction in attacks when we were all locked down - which puts paid to suggestions that the mutilations are done by foxes. Foxes don't observe lockdown rules."
Michael Broad, the owner of Storm, said: "It just shows what a crazy world we live in and how sick some people can be."
Ms Smith said: "I just hope police catch Caesar's killer soon. Otherwise you don't know how many other cats he will kill."
In a separate incident, Kent Police are also investigating a report that a cat’s whiskers were cut off by an unknown person in the Halstead Walk area of Maidstone, on April 22.
Police confirmed they are treating the first two Snodland killings as being intentionally caused by a person, though they said there was "no evidence of human involvement" in Caesar's death.
Sergeant Sarah Alvey said: "We understand that hearing of these incidents will cause concern for cat owners but please be assured we will follow up on any reasonable line of inquiry that is reported to us."
It is not the first time cats have been killed in a gruesome manner in Snodland. In November 2017, a cat was found with its head cut off in St Benedict Road, Snodland. There was no blood at the scene, leaving police to conclude it had been killed elsewhere and later dumped.
Only two week before, a cat named Tilly had returned to her home in Whitmore Street, Maidstone, with her tail cut off.
Anyone with information is urged to call police on 01622 604100 quoting 46/49177/21.