The RSPCA is appealing for information after a cat was shot in the throat in Sussex.
Two-year-old Oliver required extensive surgery following the horrific incident, in the Ghyllside Avenue area of Hastings, and is currently recovering at home.
Oliver’s owner, who does not wish to be named, said Oliver had returned home around 3.45pm on Friday, December 7, and had blood coming down his chest.
His worried owner initially thought he had been in a fight and immediately rushed him to a nearby vet.
An x-ray revealed Oliver had been shot, catching his jugular vein. The pellet had then lodged in his spine, dangerously close to nerves next to his left leg.
Oliver, a former RSPCA rescue cat, had to be referred to a specialist vet for surgery for the pellet to be removed.
He has now been allowed home and will need to be monitored to ensure no lasting damage from the shooting. Thankfully, he has now started to eat again.
His owner said she was horrified to learn that someone must have deliberately shot at her cat and has now warned other owners in the area.
RSPCA inspector Alison Edwards is investigating the incident and said: “It is heartbreaking to hear what has happened to Oliver, this could have killed him and it’s just so lucky that he managed to find his way home despite the horrendous injuries.
“I am appealing to the public for any information to this incident. I would be keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed this, or may know who was responsible. Any information will be treated in confidence.”
Anyone caught deliberately using an air gun to injure an animal could face up to six months in prison and/or an unlimited fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act. Anyone who can help should call the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018.
Every year the RSPCA receives almost 1,000 calls to investigate cases and help hundreds of animals that are the defenceless victims of air gun attacks.
Cats and wildlife are normally the animals that are more susceptible to these incidents, the RSPCA says, simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them. Unfortunately, air rifle attacks are not as rare as the charity would like. The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal, it said.
The RSPCA is supporting Cats’ Protection’s call for tighter controls on air weapons. This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.