MALICIOUS motorists are targeting cats in a deadly hit-and-run game.
RSPCA bosses in Wigan say they are receiving a rising number of calls about cars deliberately driving at the defenceless animals as they wander the streets.
Cyrill Barnett, a volunteer at the Wigan branch of the RSPCA, was left devastated when a cat he had adopted was killed by a 4x4 driver.
The black and white kitten, three-year-old Pepe, had followed him as he was taking his dog out for a walk one day on Wordsworth Avenue, Swinley.
As he tried to take him home, a vehicle sped up the road and swerved to deliberately hit the cat, killing him instantly.
Mr Barnett said: “I could hear this vehicle coming up Mesnes Road at some terrific speed, and so called to Pepe, but the 4x4 SUV had swerved towards him, and hit him with its front wheel.”
However, the most shocking aspect of the incident was when the driver showed no remorse. He reversed back to see the devastated Mr Barnett picking up his pet’s body from the floor, and when he showed Pepe to the driver to show what his speeding had done, he was greeted by obscenities from him and his passenger.
Mr Barnett added: “I just can’t understand how people can aim their vehicle at any animal trying to cross a road, and obviously enjoy killing it by doing so.
“It is very distressing for owners knowing their beloved pet has been killed in such a cruel, unnecessary way.”
It wasn’t just Mr Barnett who was distressed as a result. His other cat, Gino, Pepe’s brother, was upset and confused as to why Pepe wasn’t around anymore.
Mr Barnett said he has been made aware of a number of similar incidents.
Janet Atherton, of St Stephen’s Avenue, Whelley, lost her cat, Fluffy, when a driver deliberately swerved to hit her.
Mrs Atherton said: “She had just gone out when my neighbour came and told me she had been knocked down.
“As I ran out and saw Fluffy, she had been killed instantly, but there was no sign of the driver.
“I asked my neighbour where he was, and he said that he drove off after doing it deliberately – there was no doubt in his mind that the car changed direction when he saw her.”
The driver had driven straight towards the kerb, where the cat was walking, at a high speed before hitting it.
Mrs Atherton and her family were left devastated by the incident.
Now, the RSPCA are urging people to be vigilant and to report anything to the police.
Mr Barnett said: “There have been other reports from right across town. These heartless individuals just see it as a game, and we need to stop them.”