A cat with a reputation for attacking children, cats, dogs and even bursting into people’s houses to claw them has been branded Britain’s most ferocious feline.
Shiny the black tom cat has even been reported to the police five times – after a series of attacks which have hospitalised both humans and animals.
Residents in the Cornish village of Little Treviscoe have been known to arm themselves with hoses and mugs of hot tea whenever Shiny – who has earned himself the nickname ‘Devil Cat’ – is near.
Locals are so frightened of Shiny some say they want to see him put down – though police are helpless to intervene because laws designed to combat dangerous dogs don’t apply to cats.
Victim Paula Burton, 42, was rushed to A&E in July after Shiny raced into her home and sank his claws into her arms and legs.
Burton managed to fight him off but suffered bruising and cuts that required antibiotics.
She said: "He was pestering my cat though the glass door and he suddenly jumped up at me and started attacking me.
"He was hanging off my arm by his claws. He eventually let go and ran away but I had to go to hospital as my arm had become quite swollen.
"I love cats and I'd never normally complain - but this animal is out of control."
Neighbour Carol Ballsdon said Shiny clawed her 90-year-old mother.
Ballsdon said: "She had a large skin tear down the arm, which we had to dress every day for about three weeks, and two big puncture wounds on the back of her leg.
"It is just four sets of claws and a set of teeth coming at you."
Residents say the police and RSPCA had been contacted repeatedly but are unable to do anything legally.
They say they previously used water to shoo Shiny away - but now resort to force.
Julia Terry, 43, said: "Twice when I've gone out to get my cat and it has attacked me. It launched off the fence and attached itself to my arm.
"I had to throw hot tea over it, it was the only way other than bashing it against the wall to get it off my arm."
As well as attacking humans Shiny has laid into local cats and dogs, leaving a trail of expensive vets bills in his wake.
Helen's Wade elderly cat was attacked a couple of weeks ago by Shiny, leaving her with gaping holes to his side.
Wade, a 34-year-old carer, said: "We're living in misery - he's like a devil cat.
"We've had a fence and a gate put in in our front garden recently to try and stop him coming in, but he persists.
"The laws need to be changed so the same rules apply for cats as they do dogs. If a cat attacks a person, they should immediately be put down."
Her mother Shirley Wade, 72, has also been attacked. She said: "He was scratching at the door so I opened it slightly to shoo him away and he pounced on me and pinned me to the wall.
"My daughter heard me screaming and we managed to get him away but it was very scary."
Owners Mandie and Adrian Knowles, who live in the village with their three children, Jasmine, seven, Maisy, seven, and Poppy two, have had Shiny since he was a kitten.
Mandie, 32, a learning support student, said: "I know people had problems with Shiny before and he could be aggressive at times but since he's been neutered we've seen no signs of violent behaviour.
"He's an outdoor cat but will come inside and have his food around our two-year-old Poppy - we've never had any issues with our three children.
"These people must have done something for him to act that way. He wouldn't attack them out of the blue.
"We've had the police knocking on our door and have had the RSPCA here - it's getting ridiculous.
"When the RSPCA got here they came in and met Shiny and found no problem with him."
The family called their local vets for advice when Burton was attacked and were told to have Shiny neutered.
Adrian, 34, a dispatch supervisor, said: "We've taken the vets advice and had him neutered but we're not going to put him down when he's perfectly healthy.
"We've done everything we can and are even getting an animal psychologist around this weekend.
"But it's getting very unfair on Shiny. If we genuinely thought that this cat was attacking innocent people or children we would have him put down."