A family cat had to be put down after being repeatedly hit in the back by school children with a metal pole.
Katy Hallows, from Leigh, discovered 11-year-old cat Oscar struggling to stand up outside her house.
She noticed he was a bit wobbly on his feet and had a wound on his back near his tail.
The open wound prompted a visit to the vets and Katy later discovered her other cat had also been attacked.
Katie of Leigh, Greater Manchester, said: “When we got home, I saw Oscar and noticed he was quite wobbly.
“I then spotted he had an open wound on his back not far from his tail.
“It was very deep so me and my son took him to the vets.”
She received a call from her partner who told her their other black cat had almost been hit by two children.
Katy said: “My partner caught two young lads in school uniforms trying to hit my other cat with a white stick which turned out to be a metal pole,” she says.
“We had seen them earlier when we got home but we hadn’t put two and two together at the time.
“As he saw them trying to attack our other cat, he shouted ‘I don’t think so’ at them and they quickly ran off.”
At the vets’ surgery she was told that Oscar was in a bad condition and had suffered ‘blunt force trauma’.
“We got him seen to and the vet confirmed he had been hit with a metal pole because she was able to see a horseshoe shape indented into him.
“They hit him with such force that it had split his stomach lining and his intestines went into his stomach.
“There was nothing they could do because he was in so much pain.”
They decided to put Oscar to sleep and he died at around 7.30pm that evening.
But the nature of the incident has left her and her family absolutely shaken.
“It’s absolutely floored me,” Katy said.
“He’s one of those cats that if you went up to him in his own garden, he’d run off – he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
“We’ve had him since he was six weeks old.
“We always called him the ginger ninja because he’d always hide and then jump out at you.”
Katy says their other cat has since given birth to five kittens, which has been a welcome distraction for the family.
She now hopes whoever was involved will come forward.
“I’m not one for blaming the parents, my children have got into scrapes and trouble in the past, but I hope that if the parents do find out it’s their children, they will come and talk to me.
“It might not just be our cats that are being targeted either – they might just be doing it to any cats in the area and that’s a big concern.”
Greater Manchester Police said they were called to reports of animal cruelty on Abbey Lane in Leigh at around 8pm on July 3.