Upset as rescue cat found 'decapitated' just yards from rehoming shelter in Middleton

Poppy, the 13-year-old Tabby cat, found on a patch of grass Credit: Oldham Cats / MEN Media

A cat has been found 'decapitated' just yards from the rescue shelter where it lived in Oldham.

Staff at Oldham Cats say they have been left 'traumatised' and 'broken' after the death of 13-year-old resident Tabby cat Poppy.

They believe it's the result of a 'barbaric act' of cruelty by a human.

Staff at Oldham Cats say they believe it's the result of a 'barbaric act' of cruelty by a human Credit: Oldham Cats / MEN Media

The manager at the site on Saxon Street in Middleton, was informed by a neighbour on Thursday morning (March 21) that there was a headless cat on a patch of grass just outside the perimeter of the premises.

Poppy's microchip confirmed it to be her.

Poppy came to the shelter, which finds new homes for stray, abandoned and unwanted cats and kittens, in May 2019.

As she couldn't be found a new home she was adopted as one of around a dozen ''resident' cats who are kept permanently at the shelter.

Staff say Poppy came to the shelter in May 2019 - and everyone doted upon her, volunteers and visitors alike. Credit: Oldham Cats / MEN Media

Unlike those being found new homes, they are allowed to roam and are allowed out at the evening via a cat flap.

She was last seen on CCTV at around 2am in the early hours of Thursday.

Davina Hanes, the Assistant Manager at the shelter, says her body was found but her head is still missing.

After the grim discovery was made on Thursday, she was taken to a vets where two different experts examined her.

Ms Hanes said they had 'come to the same conclusion that it was a clean cut' and that 'she had been beheaded.'

"They said it wasn't a pull injury and it wasn't another animal likely to have done that, she's been severed," she said.

"It's horrific. It's gut-wrenching, it's heartbreaking" she continued.

"They've taken her head, it's missing.

"It's quite alarming.

"Especially as this can sort of thing can lead to further behaviours."

Credit: Oldham Cats / MEN Media

The incident has been reported to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the RSPCA.

Neither have confirmed any specifics regarding the incident but they have issued public statements confirming they are investigating and appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

Ms Hanes said Poppy had 'fitted into rescue life' and 'lived residency beautifully.'

"She was just an angel.

"Everyone doted upon her, volunteers and visitors alike.

"We're shocked, we're devasted, we're angry, we're numb," she continued.

"The atmosphere is very somber.

"I went in yesterday, people are just traumatised.

The RSPCA is appealing for any information about Tabby Credit: Oldham Cats / MEN Media

"We've never experienced this, never.

"We do what we can, and this has just broken us really."

She said for now all their resident cats are being locked into the premises at night whilst they are fundraising for a safe roaming space for them.

She also said she wanted pet owners in the area to be aware.

In a post on the shelter's Facebook page, she said:

"No animal should have to endure what our sweet little Poppy was subject to.

"Understandably, all our volunteers are heartbroken beyond belief: traumatised, angry, and shocked by such a horrific act of animal cruelty.

"Poppy was so innocently sweet, we'd all become her family over the years...her whole world.

"Good night and God bless you Poppy, our forever angel.

"You'll forever be in our hearts. With love from your Rescue family."

A spokesperson for GMP said: “Officers have received a report regarding a deceased cat on Saxon Street, Middleton, on Thursday 21 March.

"Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101, quoting log 1405 of 21/03/24.

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

An RSPCA spokesperson said: “This is very sad and it would have been very unpleasant for the person who found the cat, and our thoughts are with the cat’s carers.

"If anyone has any information about this incident then we would ask that they please call us on 0300 123 8018.”