The gray-haired woman gently pets the cat, occasionally glancing furtively at a garbage bin. Then she strikes, casually grabbing it by the scruff, tossing it in, popping the lid closed, and quickly strolling away. (Scroll down for video)
The surveillance video posted online by Lola the cat's owners takes only seconds, but it has outraged thousands of viewers around the world, some of whom posted angry messages pledging retribution. Now, police say they've identified the woman and posted guards outside her house in central England.
Investigators at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which prosecutes cruelty cases, said Tuesday that the gray striped cat was trapped for 15 hours before being rescued on Sunday morning by her owners, who told a British newspaper they heard Lola's muffled cries from inside the bin. The distressed cat was unharmed.
The society said it planned to interview the woman involved after it confirmed her identity, but declined to say whether she had been identified by a viewer of the clip online.
Police in the city of Coventry urged local residents to show restraint.
"Coventry Police are supporting the society's investigation and would urge the public to leave the matter to be dealt with in the appropriate manner by the authorities," the West Midlands police department said in a statement.
Lola's owner Stephanie Mann said she and husband Darryl couldn't find Lola on Sunday morning but followed the sound of her meows.