A pet owner has been left "devastated" after discovering his missing pet cat dead in a rubbish bin.

Sky was only eighteen months old and had been missing for three days when her owner Mark James discovered her dumped in a wheelie bin several minutes' walk from where he lives in Hedge End.

Alongside his 26-year-old brother Kieran, the 31-year-old had adopted the cat and her brother Otto when they were both kittens. Mark likened the ordeal to "losing a best friend", The Daily Echo reports.

Sky would frequently be out roaming but she would always return home and was identified by Mark's neighbour on Havendale. Having noticed she would not return by 11pm on Friday, Mark began to worry.

By evening the following day, Sky had not returned and Mark went in search. He said: "For her not to come in the morning and say hi as she would always do, it was very strange."

A heartbroken owner of a missing cat suspects his pet was killed (
Daily Echo/Solent News)
Mark James's cat Sky (
Daily Echo/Solent News)

On Sunday, Mark shared a picture of his cat on social media, with the hope that someone would identify her. But by Sunday he had begun to suspect his worst fears would be confirmed.

On Monday evening, both brothers went for a walk to identify her. He checked the cat's tag, but was dismayed to discover it would not identify the pet's location accurately, and would only give a general location.

Eventually, he managed to get it working and made his way to the tagged point. After initially feeling hopeful, Mark was shocked and devastated to find his treasured cat lifeless in a neighbour's rubbish bin.

He said: “The neighbour was just confused and apologetic. I was devastated, we had her from six months old, and she was just a year and a half. It is like losing a best friend.

“We brought her home and put her in a box. Her brother knew something was up and when I brought him in to see her, he smelled her and started crying.”

Sky in the bin (
Daily Echo/Solent News)

Mark suspects his cat was killed. He believes that if she had been hit by a car, a passerby would have either left her on the side of the road, or called the number in her collar - but being dumped mercilessly in a bin felt especially spiteful.

The incident was reported to the police. A spokesperson said: "We were called at 7.06pm on Monday 27 November to a report that a deceased cat had been found on Havendale in Hedge End.

"Our enquiries to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact 101, quoting INC-20231127-1784."