A woman who abandoned two cats in a house, which led to their deaths from starvation, has been disqualified from keeping animals for life.

Karen Whittingham (DOB 16/08/1972), of Winsford Avenue, Kingswinford, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tuesday 6 December) to be sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to the two cats by failing to feed them, and for failing to ensure the cats were housed in a suitable environment.

Whittingham was found guilty of the three offences in her absence at an earlier hearing in August this year.

 As well as the disqualification order, Whittingham was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work, and was told to pay costs of £500 and an £85 victim surcharge.

The court heard that the RSPCA were alerted to the incident after a member of the public saw the body of a dead cat through the window of the house in Bridle Road, Stourbridge, on 19 March this year.

The body of a second cat was found in the toilet by an RSPCA inspector and a police officer. An examination of the bodies found that the cats could have been without food for two weeks.

RSPCA inspector Paul Seddon, who investigated the case, said: “I’ve been an inspector for 34 years and I am still haunted by the image of the cat in the toilet. Both cats were clearly emaciated and it is possible that the cat in the toilet was trying to get some fluid inside him when he died.

“There was no evidence of food or water being left in the house at all. The house was in a total state of disarray – there were bottles, cans, papers and general household rubbish scattered around in heaps on the floor. There were also several overflowing cat litter trays and faeces all over the floor. The smell was horrific. These two poor cats would have suffered immensely before they died – there is no excuse to leave an animal to die in this way.”