FOR four years, Laura Young's cat Jaspar followed her everywhere.
"He's like a child to me," the Gracemere woman said.
But yesterday, Laura's world was shattered when she found Jaspar in a cat trap, shot dead.
Police said they were investigating the incident, and a firearm had been seized.
Jaspar was kept inside, but Laura said he went out for an hour or two every night before being fed.
It was unusual for him not to return, so when he went missing on Thursday night Laura knew something was wrong.
She grabbed a torch and searched for him, but gave up about midnight.
After a sleepless night, Laura doorknocked her neighbours, asking for help.
When Laura looked over one property's fence, she said she could see a cage, covered by a towel.
Leaning over the fence, she said she looked through the uncovered part of the cage and saw Jaspar.
Then, Laura said, she "bashed" on the property's window until the owner opened the door.
Police were called when Laura's husband Dave arrived and grabbed the cat cage from the yard.
Laura said she still couldn't believe her beloved Jaspar was dead.
"I'm absolutely heartbroken," she said.
"I can't believe anyone could be so cruel to any animal. He was a part of the family."