And then, in early April, the wife messaged Malkin-Page to say Hyperion had died after he and Atlas got into a fight.

“She sent me a video of him dying. It can clearly be seen that Hyperion was soaking wet and, when questioned, she said this was because her husband had wiped him down,” she said.

“Considering that Atlas had a recently amputated leg, the suggestion that he killed Hyperion in a fight was ridiculous. Neither could ever offer any explanation as to how the cats had been injured so seriously so many times while in their care. They said the cats are contained indoors. One of the cats is now dead and the other disabled.

“Given the nature of the repeated injuries, read with the vet’s comment that blunt-force trauma is the most likely cause, it appears that the cats were ill-treated, possibly abused. That they have been able to give no other explanations, that inference is inescapable.”

When Kitty Care demanded the return of Atlas, the couple’s attorney said his clients had taken the best possible care of their cats “under undue and unlucky and unforeseen circumstances”.

The attorney also said the cats were both “strays” and Kitty Care had no claim to them.

Atlas is being cared for by a Kitty Care representative.

TimesLIVE

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