FEARS that someone is torturing animals in the Clarence Valley have surfaced after two cats were found kilometres apart but suffering with similarly gruesome injuries.
South Grafton woman Candace Garside was devastated when her pet cat returned home on Monday night with its stomach slashed opened.
Such was the severity of the injury that Ms Garside had to call a vet to have her pet put down.
Just two days later a cat was discovered in Tucabia with a long cut to the stomach although the incision was not as deep.
Whiteman Creek woman Jenni Perry said her parents' cat was recovering after being found injured on Wednesday.
"The cat is struggling. It is a straight cut along the belly," Ms Perry said.
"It is very unusual. To happen straight after Ms Garside's in South Grafton."
Riverbank Veterinary Clinic veterinary surgeon Lucy Bond, who treated the surviving cat, said however that many things could have caused the injury and it was unlikely to have been inflicted by a person.
"It could be caused by an animal or it could have got caught on a fence, it could have been a sharp piece of metal," Dr Bond said.
She said the clinic had seen a similar injury on a dog, which they confirmed was caused by a kangaroo.
"A knife would have gone deeper, the cut was just along the skin," Dr Bond said.
"All you can say is that it was a very straight cut. We have seen dogs with gashes down their legs and animals that have gone through glass."
But while Dr Bond played down the likelihood of foul play, Ms Garside said stories of animal cruelty were rife in South Grafton.
Ms Garside said another of her cats died in 2013 after being kicked in the head. Last year her cat returned home with cigarette burns behind its leg while some other residents she had spoken to were worried about their dogs being poisoned.
"Somebody needs to find out who is hurting these animals," Ms Garside said.
"It's gotten to the point where no one will leave their dogs outside."
Ms Perry said her parents were extremely upset in the wake of their pet's injury.
"The cat is recuperating at home very slowly," Ms Perry said.
"They are keeping her comfortable and hoping for the best. They are more worried about secondary infections now.
"They treat their pets like their kids."