The body of a decapitated cat has been found on the waterfront in Lower Hutt.
A member of the public found the cat's body yesterday near near Bishop Park in Eastbourne on Sunday and brought it to the SPCA after it was thought to have been washed up from the sea.
Wellington SPCA's Chief Inspector Ritchie Dawson said the point of severance was clean and likely made by a blade of some sort.
"An initial examination showed the cat appeared otherwise healthy and its body was in good condition," Mr Dawson said.
"There were no external injuries except for two small wounds on a front paw and the back of the neck. X-rays showed no additional signs of trauma."
He said the case was very unusual and disturbing.
"We tend to see other forms of animal cruelty, but certainly not decapitation."
Mr Dawson said if it was found to be a wilful act of cruelty there could be a penalty of up to $100,000 or five years imprisonment for the culprit.
He said the domestic black and white cat was a medium-haired, neutered male - and that anyone with information should come forward.
"This case is under investigation by Wellington SPCA's Inspectorate and we are appealing to the community for any information that could aid the investigation or in locating the owner of the cat."