RSPCA officers are hunting the people who locked a cat inside a cage and dumped him in the canal at Newton Harcourt.
Insp Allison North, of the RSPCA, said she suspects the terrified black male cat was still alive when he was brutally dropped into the water.
The dead pet was found by a horrified member of the public magnet fishing for scrap metal in the Grand Union Canel off Wistow Road on Saturday (Oct 5).
Stunned Insp North has now launched an urgent investigation into how the cat died.
“This was an extremely shocking and upsetting discovery.
“It raises some serious questions about how and why this poor cat came to be in the canal,” she said.
“We believe the cat may have been alive when he was dumped in the canal in the trap which is a very distressing thought.
“It doesn’t appear as though he has been in the canal for very long, so we are now appealing for information.
“If you saw anything unusual or suspicious around this canal recently, or recognise a black male cat in the area, please contact us on the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”
The trap is the kind used to contain cats and is often used in rescue or as part of Trap, Neuter and Release programmes for feral cats.
The cat was not microchipped and there are no houses near where the horrific discovery was made.
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said they had not got involved as the inquiry was being conducted by the RSPCA.