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Pet cat eaten by 13ft python
An owner has told how his pet cat was crushed, asphyxiated and consumed whole by a 13ft python belonging to a neighbour.
Wilbur, a four-year-old tabby, was devoured after straying into a nearby garden in Brislington, Bristol, where the Burmese python was lurking.
The cat's owners, Martin and Helen Wadey, heard "blood-chilling cries" and rushed to the neighbouring property to help. But after getting no reply from the house they were powerless to save Wilbur.
The snake's "huge bulge" was eventually scanned and RSPCA officers confirmed that micro-chipped remains were inside.
An RSPCA inspector later issued the snake's owner, Darren Bishop, with a verbal warning about appropriate housing and care requirements.
Now Mr and Mrs Wade are calling for a change in the law so that pythons are officially classed as dangerous animals, requiring a licence.
Mr Wade, 44, writing on his website "Justice for Wilbur", describes the cat as "beautiful, strong, soft, with a purr like a dynamo".
"We don't know whether Wilbur stumbled across the snake and it was an opportunistic kill, or if the snake was actively hunting him, but either way, we heard the python's strike from the terrified scream that came from Wilbur and the subsequent blood-chilling cries as he fought for his life," he said.
"Then in less than a minute, all was silent. He never stood a chance against a creature over 13 times his weight with such immense power. Wilbur was crushed, asphyxiated and consumed whole.
"Helen and I were both standing on our deck hearing everything, but unable to see what had happened, other than it involved Wilbur and it was something awful. From an upstairs window, I was able to make out movement in the garden in question, but no detail."
Pythons, which usually feed on birds and small mammals, wrap themselves around their victims. They can be bought as domestic pets for around £100. Last month a two-year-old girl was reportedly crushed to death by an 8ft Burmese python.
Mr and Mrs Wadey, who have three other cats and no children, want to introduce a "Wilbur's amendment" to the Dangerous and Wild Animals Act and are petitioning No. 10 Downing Street.
The RSPCA said that all the evidence suggested that Wilbur had indeed been swallowed by the snake.
A spokeswoman said: "The cat was swallowed on June 25. The RSPCA attended the following day. The snake was scanned and we can confirm that a microchip was found inside.
"The owner was issued with a written warning about appropriate housing and care equipment. We can't know for certain that it was Wilbur, but it is very, very likely."