The devastated owner of a grey tabby who found her cat decapitated in the garden of her north Watford home said she is "sick to her stomach" that anyone could be so cruel.

"Friendly, lovely family cat" Jess, 9, is believed to have been shot twice and beheaded in an incident police are investigating as animal cruelty.

Shocked owner Sarah Kendell, 46, said: "We are shocked, devastated - I can’t find the words to really describe it.

"I feel sick to the stomach about how anybody could do that and take our cat away from us."

The mum-of-two said she returned to her home on Westfield Avenue at Sunday lunchtime after a night away and saw "something lying in the garden" - only to find it was the family pet.

The Grove School dinner lady said: "I went out and it was our cat, she had been decapitated.

"We weren’t sure what had happened, we took her to Medivet - we thought it might have been a fox.

"But the vet said it wasn’t an animal. It was a clean cut."

The Kendells were also told Jess had suffered two puncture wounds - which the vet believed could have been shots from an air rifle.

Sarah continued: "Jess was very friendly, she was a lovely family cat.

"We just want people to be aware in case something like this happens again.

"I don’t want anyone else to go through what my family has. It’s affected everyone.

"I have two children and they are absolutely devastated."

Sarah's husband Steve, 46, and their two children have two other cats, Jess’ sister Nala, who they rescued with Jess from the National Animal Welfare Trust, and two-year-old kitten Missy.

Sarah said they are afraid to let them out.

She said: "No animal should have to go through that."