IT was an attack with a shotgun that left a family pet “lucky to be alive”.
But now a Hampshire couple face an agonising wait to find out whether the pellets that littered 18-month-old cat Felix will prove fatal.
Vets have told Quentin Brittain and Angela Linton that there are too many pellets in Felix to surgically remove – and if they are lead they could kill him through poisoning.
Black-and-white cat Felix was shot just 150m away from home and it is also believed the cruel attack continued as a broken tail suggests he was picked up and swung around.
The couple’s bills have already run up to £250, and the family -– who have no pet insurance – believe this could treble over the course of treatment.
Mr Brittain, of Chilbolton Down Farm, near Stockbridge, said: “We noticed he was dragging his rear right leg. It was very painful when we touched it – he was hissing and scratching which he would never do as he is a family cat.
“The vet thinks the broken tail was done at the same time. He is a friendly cat – he plays with the children down the road.
“It might change but he could be left permanently like that or he could lose his leg. It’s unbelievable. The vet said it was the worst thing he has seen in 25 years.”
Now Mr Brittain has offered a £500 reward to anyone with information that leads to the conviction of whoever is responsible.
He has spoken to a shotgun expert, who believes that the cat would have been shot from a distance of just 30 to 35 metres.
Ms Linton added: “He is lucky to be alive. We still don’t know if it’s lead pellets. If it is, that will kill him.”
Mr Brittain – who owns a tabby and a dog – said Felix was wandering around the farm when a neighbour heard a loud gunshot.
It was not until the next morning that the cat returned with shotgun injuries.
He was then taken to Hawksdown Vets, in Stockbridge, where an X-ray revealed the full extent of the damage. Felix must now be kept in a cage for the next six weeks to see if the pellets work themselves out.
A police spokesman said: “The cat was discovered injured at the victim’s home address but it is unknown where the incident occurred.
“Anyone with information about the incident should contact Stockbridge Safer Neighbourhoods team by calling 101.”