A pet cat was stabbed and decapitated before being dumped in a front garden in Hampshire.
Police said the animal, called Huggles, was captured in Lindford on 9 February before it was discovered dead in Liphook Road.
The owner of the black and white cat had adopted it from an animal rescue centre in November.
A vet who examined Huggles told police he had never seen such a level of violence inflicted on an animal.
An investigation has been launched and police are appealing for witnesses.
'Suffered great deal'
Lara Alford, deputy centre manager for the Blue Cross centre in Southampton, condemned the attack.
"We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the brutal death of a rescue cat," she said.
"It is unbelievable that someone could inflict such a vicious attack on a defenceless animal and loved pet who would have undoubtedly suffered extreme pain and distress.
"We would like to send our sympathy to Huggles' owners, who must be heartbroken, and we would urge anyone with information to come forward to the police."
PCSO John Terry, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: "Huggles would have suffered a great deal before death.
"I'm looking for anyone who witnessed this brutal crime or saw anyone acting suspiciously before or after this event to get in touch, as the person who did this could do it again or move on to bigger crimes."