ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque family wants to know if they’re the victims of a sick joke or something more sinister. They’ve been receiving some disturbing texts about their missing cat.

Losing a pet is already tough enough.

“We were heartbroken,” said Dopple’s Owner.

But what happened to a Northeast Heights family was even worse.

She said, “At this point, I really do think that someone just wanted to scare us, rattle us, horrify us.”

They don’t want to be identified but say their cat Dopple went missing back in February.

The cat is a large black male with half of his left ear missing. His owners searched tirelessly for the past few months, walking the streets and covering their neighborhood in flyers.

“You just focus on trying to bring them home. You go through a stage when you think you’re never gonna see them again. You try to be realistic about it and accept it, and we were just about at that point when we received this message,” said Dopple’s Owner.

It was a message they never expected.

She said, “It basically said that ‘I have your cat’.”

And the messages got worse from there.

She said, “So within a minute or so, a long pause it seemed like, this person said that ‘I had to kill him’.”

The family assumes the person got their number off one of the flyers. They exchanged five texts in all, before some of the texts disappeared off their phone.

“It seemed like a game, it really did, a sick game,” she said.

The texts came from an untraceable number and the person eventually stopped responding. The family says they know the person probably didn’t kill their cat, but the possibility still haunts them.

“It’s a really evil thing to do,” said Dopple’s Owner.

The city’s Animal Welfare Department says they haven’t heard of any other cases like this one. They’re looking into it.