An RSPCA investigation following the discovery of a cat's head has been unsuccessful due to the state of the remains.
Animal lovers across the borough were outraged to hear that a cat had been found decapitated in Higher Folds on Bank Holiday Monday.
Following the news, animal charity Cats Protection Atherton and Wigan warned people to keep their pets safe while an RSPCA investigation took place.
Since liaising with the authority, the charity has updated pet owners who are anxiously waiting for news.
They said: "RSPCA has examined the remains and due to the amount of decomposition are unable to tell whether injuries caused by animal or human. It is possible death was due to decapitation but this is by no means certain. At least the owner now has her little boy home."
A woman believed to be the owner of the dead rescue cat has come forward to pay tribute to her beloved pet "Hope".
Shirlean Hedley said: "Thank you to everyone for their lovely comments he was my cat I'm devastated to say the least can't believe it I just can't. Words can't express the hurt and heartache I feel he was part of the family he loved us and we loved him."
The RSPCA has said that the incident could be due to an animal attack but that a cause of death cannot be determined.
A spokesperson said: “We were contacted after a cat’s head was found in Higher Folds, Leigh at the weekend and an officer went and collected it.
“There is no way of knowing how this happened or whether the cat was alive or dead at the time.
“Foxes commonly predate on the heads of animals who are already deceased, and it’s possible that is what has happened here, and the fox has been disturbed.
“Unfortunately, the cat’s head is quite decomposed and maggot-infested so it’s impossible to determine for sure who the cat belonged to, but a potential owner has been updated.”