A Rotorua family are on the hunt for the "sick" culprits who set fire to their cat, singeing its fur and causing serious injuries.
They fear whoever attacked Skinny Boy could strike again.
Troy Mitchell and his partner, Bernadette Andrews, rescued a stray cat from Auckland and brought it to their Rotorua home just over a month ago.
The cat, which at the time was malnourished, was given the name Skinny Boy.
Mr Mitchell said he found Skinny Boy at the back of their property on Sunday afternoon and noticed the tip of his tail had been singed about 5cm.
The next day he became concerned when he hadn't seen Skinny Boy for a while and called out to him. He again found the cat at the rear of their property - this time, its entire body had been burned.
The cat, which is a domestic long-hair breed, now has short fur. Its whiskers have been burned off and there are bad burn marks around its bottom, head and ears.
"I screamed because I was in such shock. I had to look at it again and wonder, 'Is that my cat?' The cat was in shock, too, it wouldn't move."
Mr Mitchell said Skinny Boy normally had long, thick fur.
"The vet said it was lucky the fur was so thick and that it should grow back." Skinny Boy has remained under veterinary care at the SPCA this week to monitor the burns on his head and bottom in case they develop an infection.
"It's just devastating to know someone in the area could do that," Mr Mitchell said. "I just fear that someone in the area has done it. It's just devastating."
Mr Mitchell said Skinny Boy was a friendly cat and would go up to anyone. He guessed it could have been more than one person as someone would have had to have held the cat while another burned it.
"Who could do that? It's sickening."
The couple, who recently moved to Rotorua from Auckland with their children, said they were afraid to door knock in the area to find the offenders because they feared what the offenders might do.
Miss Andrews said horrible thoughts had run through her heads that someone was doing this to their cat to get at them.
The pair said they hoped the disgusting act wasn't that of children bored during the school holidays.
"Surely a child wouldn't think to do that?" Mr Mitchell asked.
Anyone with information about who might be responsible, or if their animals have suffered similar torture, should ring Rotorua police.