A distraught mum believes her beloved cat was brutally beaten to death with a rock.
Charlie Wilkinson’s Bengal breed moggie was discovered at a quarry near the family home in Grain.
The 34-year-old cleaner said a large stone and a trail of blood was found near Hunter’s body in West Lane on Monday.
She said the pet was well-known in the village and two cyclists recognised him and knocked on her door after making the grim discovery.
Charlie said: “To me it’s murder. I think Hunter was hit and tried to get away. He knew his killer.”
The three-year-old had not been seen since Easter, but Charlie said it was not unusual for him to go missing for weeks and sometimes months at a time.
Bengal breeds are known for being adventurous, lively and fending for themselves.
Fighting back tears, she said: “He was part of the family, very playful. He would go AWOL particularly in the warmer weather.
“But he was so well-known people would say they had seen him.”
Charlie had to break the news to son Fraser on his eighth birthday.
“I told him he had eaten something poisonous,” she said.
Charlie lives with husband Alan, 41, and their other son Lloyd, 10, in St James Road.