HE MUST be the luckiest cat in Hampshire.

Having only just recovered from a broken leg and a tail amputation after being hit by a car, staff at a H a m p s h i r e vet’s surg e r y w e r e shocked to see Bagheera come through their doors again.

But their shock turned to horror when an X-ray revealed that the 20- m o n t h - o l d cat had been shot by an air r i f l e and the pellet was lodged in his left lung.

Had the pellet gone inches to the left or the right of where Bagheera was hit in his left shoulder, he would have lost all of his nine lives, but as luck would have it, the pellet missed all his vital nerves and arteries.

When his owner Alison Tooze found him lying flat her Titchfield home, she feared Bagheera, who had been hit by a car last August, had been hit again.

She took him straight to Heathside Veterinary Surgery in Locks Heath, where they treated him for shock as there were no obvious signs of injury.

But 24-hours later, they did an X-ray which revealed the pellet in his lung and on closer inspection, they found a fresh wound in his shoulder.

Alison, from Titchfield, said: “It was a real shock because we had all just assumed that he had been hit by a car again but the surgery have been fantastic.”

Due to the positioning of the pellet, vets have decided to leave it where it is as it would be too dangerous to open his chest and remove it, but if it should start to move, or cause infection, they may be forced to operate.

Vet Jeremy Giles said: “He is a very lucky cat because had the pellet gone just inches in any other direction, it would have caused severe damage to the nerves and arteries in his shoulder or gone straight into the heart, which could have been fatal.”

Alison’s daughter Maddie Pendle, 11, said: “The person that did this to Bagheera is really horrible. I think Bagheera is unlucky in one way because he had been hurt twice, but he is also lucky because he has survived both.”

Her six-year-old brother Toby added: “I think what happened to Bagheera is terrible but I think he must be magic because he survived.”

The shooting has been reported to the police who have confirmed that this appears to be an isolated incident.