The RSPCA has launched an investigation after a vicar discovered the remains of a mutilated cat placed on a war memorial grave in a churchyard in Essex.
The vicar, who discovered the remains of the cat, contacted the RSPCA and inspector Marie Hammerton collected the body and took her to a local vet.
“The vet believes the cat’s body was mutilated after she had died but it’s not clear at this time how she died,” inspector Hammerton said.
“The head, front legs and tail have been ripped off but all the organs are intact.
“These sorts of injuries can be caused by wildlife predating on the bodies of animals – such as cats – which may have been killed on the roads.”
A very worried and distressed owner, who lives near the church, later contacted the RSPCA looking for her cat and went along to identify the body as her five-year-old pet called Missy.
Sandra Pillar, who also owns 12-year-old puss Micky, said Missy had gone out as usual on Friday afternoon but hadn’t returned later in the day.
“I went out looking for her as she hadn’t put in an appearance. I was calling her but I wasn’t unduly worried,” she said. “As it got later I got quite worried as she’s not allowed out at night.”
On Saturday morning, Missy still hadn’t been seen so Sandra and her neighbours went to look for her again when they heard from a local that the body of a cat had been found in the churchyard.
“They said it was a terrible sight, they said her tail had been hacked off and they couldn’t find her head,” Sandra said.
“It’s just awful, I can’t believe it. It’s so scary.
“She was such a lovely little cat. She would go off into other gardens so everybody knew her, she was popular and she was so sweet.”
The RSPCA and police are now investigating Missy’s death.
Inspector Hammerton added: “It’s just heartbreaking. Not only does this awful incident involve the sad death and shocking mutilation of a beloved pet cat, but also the desecration of a war memorial.
“The vicar told Missy’s owner that every year, around Halloween, a ‘prank’ involving a mutilated animal occurs at the church.”
The RSPCA is now appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
“I’d like to hear from anybody in the local area who may know what happened to Missy or who is responsible for this awful incident,” inspector Hammerton said.
“Anyone with information can contact our inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”