AN ANIMAL lover helped saved a cat from being drowned by a heartless thug.

The brave woman stepped in to save Billy the cat who was being held in a bucket of water by a youth at an unnamed road in Southend.

She was alerted by the distressed cries of the moggy and went to investigate.

The woman, who is too scared to be named, told the teenage boy to stop and she was sworn at.

She said: “He said it was his cat and that he could do what he like’d to it. “I told him I’d take the cat but he wanted to know what it was worth.”

The woman, a regular supporter of Southend Cats Protection, handed him £5 - all the money she had on her as she was so fearful for the cat’s life.

The boy took the money and ran off.

The rescuer, who fosters cats for the charity, wrapped the soggy puss in his coat and took him home.

She said: “Obviously, the poor creature was terrified and it took quite some time before he would even venture out of his pen in my house.

“In all the 15 years I have supported Cats Protection Southend, I have never seen such a dreadful case of cruelty.”

Billy has now recovered from his ordeal last month. He has now been vet checked and it turns out he has the FIV virus which means he cannot be with other cats and must remain indoors.

The charity believes this is possibly the reason the owner was going to drown him.

If you can offer a new home to Billy or any other cat in the charity’s care contact Rita Roberts on 01702 710630.