A HEARTBROKEN pet owner says she has lost her ‘companion’ after her parrot was killed by a rat.

Grandmother Doreen Rostron said she was devastated after she found Ruby dead in her Oswaldwistle home.

Ruby, a Rüppell parrot, was attacked and killed by a rodent while her 63-year-old owner was in bed.

The 12-year-old bird is thought to have flown out of her open cage in the lounge after she was startled by a rat trying to get at the parrot's food in a box under the cage.

The rodent is believed to have then caught the parrot and dragged her to a hole in the wall behind a cabinet.

When Doreen went downstairs in the morning she saw Ruby’s feathers scattered all over the rug. The mum-of-four said: “There were so many I just screamed and shouted.”

Doreen called her son, Christopher, who was working just five minutes away from her cottage on White Ash Lane.

Christopher, 38, from Blackburn, said: “My mum was hysterical. When I arrived she was in tears and you could see all the feathers on the middle of the floor.

“I knew the bird would be in the house somewhere but automatically I thought the worst.”

After moving all the furniture in the living room Doreen and her son followed the trail of feathers to a display cabinet in the corner of Doreen’s lounge, where there was a hole in the wall, five inches wide.

Doreen, who then ran into the kitchen, said: “My son shouted ‘mum stay in the kitchen I have found her and I can see her legs’.

“The rat could not drag her any further through the hole. I have been heartbroken all week.”

Ruby’s remains have now been buried in the garden of her son’s home in Oakdale while traps and rat poison have been laid in the living room and kitchen.

The former charity shop worker has had rodents in her home in the past and has now issued a warning to people in Oswaldwistle.

She said: “Oswaldtwistle has been plagued with rats before but it seems to have got worse in the last couple of weeks.

“I have heard stories from neighbours of rats coming up from drains throughout the day and getting in sheds during the night.

“I would like to warn people please don’t leave any pet or human food exposed in your home and to keep your tiny pets safe in the night.”