CALLOUS yobs snatched a 21-year-old cat from outside his home and left him tied to a tree with a length of washing line wrapped tightly around his neck.

The elderly cat, named Fudge, who is completely deaf, was discovered abandoned on wasteland near his owner's house, more than a day after he went missing.

He was still alive, but very weak and dehydrated, and crying quietly.

Fudge's distraught owner, Sally Fincham, who lives in Southbourne, Bournemouth launched a frantic search for her pet after she realised Fudge had disappeared on Saturday night.

Sally's daughter Sara and a friend later made the upsetting discovery on land near the railway line not far from her mother's home in Carlisle Road on Sunday evening.

Sally told the Daily Echo how shocked she had been at what had happened: "It was just horrific, I can't understand the mentality of these people. He's a really friendly cat.

"It's really scary to have something like happen on your own doorstep.

"I'm just so glad we found him. He's had an extremely lucky escape."

Police are now investigating the incident, and Fudge is recovering at home after being checked over by the vet.

Neighbour Catherine Kenward said: "When they found him, he was just curled up in a little ball, mewing quietly.

"It's an awful thing to do to a cat. He's 21 years old and completely deaf, and he never strays from the house. He just sits at the end of the drive."

Catherine believes teenage yobs may have taken the elderly cat to the nearby wasteland and is now urging other cat owners in the Southbourne area to be on their guard.

Sally added: "Fudge has been lucky this time and might just reach his 22nd birthday in a few weeks' time. But another cat might not be so lucky."