A heartbroken mum found the beloved family cat lifeless and poisoned to death – and had to tell her young kids just days before their birthdays.
Pepe, a one-year-old kitten, suffered a 24-hour-long "agonising death" after rat poison melted his insides.
Jodie Blinston and partner Joshua Scanlon had bought the cute feline for their four children from previous relationships, reports Manchester Evening News.
"We are totally devastated," said Jodie.
"Pepe was only young. He was the funniest cat, but loving too.
"We have got two cats and our other one is a bit stand-off-ish, but he was so friendly and so playful.
"Pepe just absolutely adored us, he was always on the bottom of the bed snuggling up to us. He was just a joy to have as a pet."
Upon finding their furry friend slumped on the floor outside their home in Hyde, Tameside, they raced him to the vets.
But it was too late and the devastated family were told their cat had been poisoned.
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Tragically, the household had been preparing for a celebration – the cat killing was a day before Jodie's son Ayden turned 12 and the same week as the special day of her youngest, 6-year-old Caleb.
It’s not just the kids who are feeling the family’s tragic loss – death is also being felt by the family's eight-year-old cat Angus.
"When we first got Pepe, he had to deal with Pepe and at first he was like 'who's this?'" she went on.
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"But since it has happened he has not left my side. It's like he knows, it's really weird," Jodie said.
She has since researched cat poisonings and was shocked to find out how common it was.
"I've spoken to a few people in the past couple of days and it's astonishing how many people have gone through the same thing," she added.
"The vet said that some people who don't want cats in their gardens, a few can be so cruel that they wrap a bit of ham around poison, knowing that the cat will die."
"There are a lot of accidents that can happen – people leave slug pellets or rat poison. Anti-freeze is one of the main cat killers.
"It's also instinct for a cat to go after mice, but if they have died from rat poison and it gets ingested by a cat, they can die too.
Jodie reported Pepe’s death to the cops and Greater Manchester Police has confirmed there’s an ongoing investigation.
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