An eight-year-old boy collapsed and was taken to hospital after his mother told him their kitten had been beheaded by the so-called Croydon cat killer.

Mary Chase found their eight-month-old black and white kitten, named KiKi, without a head near her home in Sundale Avenue, South Croydon.

After the mother-of-four found the headless moggy in her neighbour’s back garden in the early hours of Wednesday, February 22, she said breaking the news to her children was “especially hard”.

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She said: “In the evening I was calling for her, shining a torch around, for hours. When I saw her beheaded I just couldn’t believe it. Totally devastated.

“For my four children it is especially hard to deal with. When my eight year old son found out he collapsed. His legs just went from under him.

“We called an ambulance out and they took him [to hospital].”

The moggy’s head has not since been found, wish Mrs Chase says is a sign her kitten was a victim of the so-called Croydon cat killer.

Tony Jenkins, member of South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL), said he suspects the “killer” is removing the heads and discarding them in different locations.

Mr Jenkins, who was called to Mrs Chase’s home following the incident, added: “The head had been removed with a clean cut. It was definitely a knife.

“The whole family were devastated, understandably. We and the police are investigating.”

Since SNARL launched its investigation, about 20 mutilated cats have been found in Croydon.

According to Mr Jenkins, cops and the South Norwood group are looking into more than 200 incidents in total.

Asked if there are any suspects in the manhunt, he said: “There’s a few people of interest. Just people that have been reported to us and the police.

The probe began after headless cats were found in Croydon, Sutton and Mitcham Common – but since then SNARL say it has become a nationwide problem.

Mr Jenkins said vets who examine the corpses found that they were often killed in the same way.