A father-of-two was horrified when he cleared out his garden shed and found a mummified cat.
Adam White, who has lived in the house in Wigan, Lancashire, all his life, was demolishing the roof of his outhouse to make way for an extension when he came across a solid object under the rubble.
The 30-year-old believes the cat could have been stuck there for more than three decades.
Mr White said: ‘I think it’s been there quite a long time. I did think it could have been a piece of expanding foam because there was rubble everywhere and it was in there.
‘I couldn’t make my mind up whether it was an ornament or something but when I saw its teeth and rib cage I knew it was real.
‘There was a hole in the corner of the building so I don’t know whether it’s crawled in there and got stuck or climbed up to die.
‘I had to put it in a bag, my little lad was out with me. I had to pretend to him that it wasn’t real.
‘Luckily my other son was in bed – he is really obsessed with animals, I think he would have been taken aback with it.’
Mr White, a plumber by trade, grew up in the house in Hindley in Wigan, Lancashire, before buying it years later with his wife Rebecca.
The family has appealed to neighbours to find any potential owners, but to no avail.
For mummification to occur, a body must have been exposed to certain conditions, including particular chemicals, low humidity or a lack of air which prevent the tissue from decaying.
A picture of the animal, posted on Facebook by Adam’s father Malcolm, has caused shock and upset throughout the online community.
People had commented, concerned that the cat may have died slowly or painfully and that it may be someone’s missing pet.
Others have offered to help find the owner by scanning for microchips, although it is unknown whether the feline was chipped as it may have been there for decades.
Mummification of animals was popular with ancient Egyptians who would be buried with their animals for company in the afterlife.