Black and white cat Patch was shot in the back leg whilst he was climbing up a tree in a neighbours’ garden in Loughborough Road on 12 September. An x-ray later revealed he also had another pellet in his stomach which vets believe had been there for about a week.
The attack happened during a short time frame between 7.37am and 7.50am last Thursday.
Now the RSPCA is appealing for anyone with information which could help the investigation to contact them in strictest confidence on the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018, and reference Inspector Susan Hammond.
His owner Sue Holmes said: “It was devastating to see Patch in so much pain and it’s so frustrating not knowing exactly what happened to him. This is the first time anything like this has happened in our area and there’s lots of cats that live around here.
“We found him cowering under our garden furniture and covered in blood. We took him straight to the vets who found that there were two pellets, one in his stomach and one in his back leg which broke his femur. The one in his stomach appeared to have been there longer, for about a week or so. It hadn’t damaged any vital organs and Patch had just been going about his business with this inside. This is very worrying that he was actually targeted twice in a week.
“He’s got his last x-ray next week. So we are hopeful he will get the all-clear and he won’t have to stay in the cage at night. I’m sure now that he will make a full recovery but it was a close call. We could have lost him.”
Both pellets were removed by the vets and two-year-old Patch was then patched up. He was left with a broken back leg from the impact of the pellet and has been on cage rest for the last week while he recovers.
Inspector Susan Hammond, who is investigating, said: “We know this happened during a short time frame as a neighbour had spotted Patch up the tree in their garden that morning and took a picture of him. The neighbour knew nothing about the attack which suggests it happened shortly after the picture was taken. It was only about ten minutes later when his owner Sue found him with his injuries.
“Poor Patch could have been killed. Not only is this a brutal act of cruelty against a much-loved pet but it is also against the law. That is why we are taking this very seriously and would like anyone with information to come forward.”
There were 4,828 airgun incidents reported to the RSPCA between 1 January 2012 and 30 June 2017. Of these 1,814 were related to cats, and 140 of them were reported in Nottinghamshire.
Last week the Government announced it would review the regulations of air weapon licensing which has been welcomed by the RSPCA. The review was sparked after a 13-year-old boy died after he was shot by an air gun in Suffolk.
David Bowles, RSPCA assistant director of external affairs, said: “It is heartbreaking that such a tragic incident has sparked this review and our thoughts go out to Benjamin’s family and friends, but we hope that any future regulations around the licensing of these weapons in England and Wales will better protect people, children and animals.
“The RSPCA has long been calling for stricter regulations around owning airguns as well as better education and explanation of the law for those buying an airgun. Our 24-hour cruelty hotline receives hundreds of calls every year reporting airgun attacks on animals. Last year, we received 890 calls and this year looks set to top that and, worryingly, reach a five-year high.
“Animals can suffer horrendous injuries and often die as a result of airgun attacks and these weapons are potentially extremely dangerous for people as well.”