A SADISTIC animal slasher targeting pets in the city may have struck 14 times.

Police are hunting the suspected killer after multiple cats, living within the same square mile of Brighton near Ditchling Rise, returned home with their intestines hanging out.

There are now fears the cat killer is also hunting pets in the Southwick area after a flood of pet owners came forward with similar reports.

Heartbroken Emma Packer, 37, who lives near Southwick Green, said her kids are “devastated” after their cat Poppy was killed after a suspected knife attack on Friday last week.

Ms Packer, who buried the beloved animal in her back garden this week, said: “She came back smashing against the catflap and when she got in she was bleeding everywhere and then collapsed on the landing.

“My husband was covered in her blood and we rushed her to the vets and called the police.”

After taking Poppy to the vet, the family were told she had been attacked by a person with a knife.

Poppy had been stabbed in her lung and other parts of the body.

The vet told the family they needed to pay £3,000 for treatment, if she was to have any chance of surviving.

Ms Packer said: “We just don’t have that sort of money. We spoke to animal charity the PDSA and they said they would operate. But they then rang us back and said the operation was too much. They fixed the holes in Poppy but she had died shortly afterwards.”

Ms Packer added that another of her cats has been limping since the evening of the attack, and called the coincidence “very suspicious”.

Other people who live near the same area of Southwick have come forward with similar experiences.

All reports of cat mutilations are being dealt with by Sussex Police under Operation Diverge.

Prevention Inspector Dan Hiles said: “We are investigating 14 reports of cats with injuries in the city.

“We are asking the public to report any concerning behaviour or suspicious activity, particularly in the area around London Road railway station and the North Laine areas.

“Investigators have been assigned to work on these reports as we understand the impact and emotional distress that such incidents can have.”

“Anyone with information should report online sussex.police.uk/appealresponse or call 101 quoting Operation Diverge.”