Cat owners in England may be hoping that their pets really do have nine lives. That's because a grotesque series of cat mutilations has been taking place there since 2015.
At least five cats have been found mutilated in Northampton, England, just since August of this year.
The recently slain cats were each found in similar circumstances: They had been dismembered and decapitated, and left for their owners to find.
In one instance, a 14-year-old girl found her dismembered cat dumped on her doorstep, BBC reported.
The pattern of killings has prompted authorities to investigate their possible link to at least 400 related animal deaths -- including rabbits and foxes -- in other parts of England for the past two years.
"I want to reassure the public that we are taking these crimes seriously and will continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Police who are investigating similar offenses, a spokesperson for the Northamptonshire police said.
"We understand how important pets are to their owners and that cats are part of the family. So it’s important to us that we investigate these crimes in order to bring the person/people responsible to justice."
Authorities began investigating cat killings in Croydon – a town in south London – in 2015, after an animal charity group raised concerns. The suspect became known as the “Croydon cat killer.”
The suspect is believed to have killed hundreds of cats and rabbits across England, BBC reported.
An investigation was launched to find any links connecting the animal deaths. In September experts at a forensic lab in Surrey began to re-exame some of the corpses for new evidence.
Northamptonshire police have since issued warnings to pet owners to keep their animals indoors during the night.