Pet owners are being warned to be on their guard after a cat was found decapitated in its owner’s garden in Chatham.
A Gillingham-based animal rescue group said the dead pet bore the trademarks of the so-called M25 cat killer who is believed to have struck hundreds of times over the last two years, mostly in London and Kent.
On the same day, two dead fox cubs were found in Herne Bay, one with similar injuries.
The woman, who has owned the tortoiseshell cat for 18 years, was said to be too distressed to talk after making the grim discovery at her home near Chatham railway station on Easter Sunday.
It was picked up by Animals Lost and Found. Founder member Natasha McPhee said it had suffered the savage signature injuries subjected by the cat killer.
Miss McPhee, 33, said: “She had been decapitated and her tail cut off. Like all of these horrible cases, there was no blood which indicates this was not done by another animal, but by a person.
“I believe it is the same person, known as the M25 killer, who is doing this. We know the lady who owns the cat and she is in shock.”
The cat was passed on to South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty welfare organisation which has organised a post-mortem examination and notified police.
SNARL has been working with the RSPCA and the Metropolitan police since is was set up in October 2015 and has investigated hundreds of cases.
Tony Jenkins, from SNARL, said: “We have had about 220 bodies, predominantly cats, but a few foxes. It started off in the south London area, but has now cropped up across Kent and as far away as Manchester.”
Mr Jenkins, 52, who gave up his job in local government to focus on the group said: “This must be taken seriously. At the very least there is somebody out there with a sharp knife who knows what he is doing, and who knows what may happen if disturbed?
“You hear about serial killers who start off from a young age mutilating animals. He tends to leave the dead animal on a doorstep or under a bedroom window so it is the first thing the owner sees when they wake up in the morning.”
Mr Jenkins said on the same day as the cat was found, SNARL was called to Herne Bay Memorial Tennis Courts where a fox cub was found with its head and a paw cut off. It also bore the injuries linked to the M25 killer.
Mr Jenkins said it was discovered dead next to another cub which appeared to have been stamped to death in the town's Memorial Park.
He said the injuries sustained by the decapitated cub bore a striking resemblance to those suffered by other victims of the M25 animal killer.
"The cuts looked far too clean to have been caused by another animal," he said. "There was also very little blood, suggesting the fox was dead when the head was cut off.
"It certainly fits with the theory that blunt force trauma is being used to kill these animals before they are mutilated with a knife.
"In the last 15 months about 30 of the 220 bodies have been those of foxes."
In February, the cat killer was believed to be behind the death of a ginger feline found dead and mutilated in Dartford.
Miss McPhee confirmed that similar incidents had happened in Walderslade and Strood over the last year.