Juliet Overland, of Lytham Close, said the black moggy returned home with an injury in late February. Having rushed him to a vet, she was horrified when an x-ray revealed an air gun pellet imbedded in his abdomen, having passed through his colon.
Having spent over £3,500 on veterinary bills, Juliet said Wilson is finally recovering from surgery to repair his colon, though may still need a kidney to be removed.
She said: “The vet was able to remove the pellet and gave it to me, and I felt sick when I saw it. This was not a small pellet, it was one which was designed to cause maximum penetration and damage.
“Whoever did this clearly wanted to cause immense pain without any regard to whether he survived or not. It is so upsetting as Wilson is a very much-loved pet and I’m devastated someone would want to hurt him.
“It is shocking that air guns aren’t licensed and they clearly need to be. This is not just someone messing about shooting tin cans, it’s someone who wanted to cause pain and suffering to a pet cat. It’s been incredibly upsetting and stressful for me, both emotionally and financially.”
Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy, Campaigns & Government Relations Madison Rogers said that sadly Wilson’s was not an isolated case, with the charity’s monitoring of press reports showing that in the last five years, over 550 cats in the UK were reported in the press as being shot with an air gun. With no official data available, this figure is likely to be just the tip of an iceberg.
She said: “Air guns are unlicensed in Wales and England, which means anyone aged over 18 can legally buy and own such a lethal weapon, no questions asked. This is in contrast with Scotland, which has strict rules in place on who can buy and own an air gun.
“It is clear that Scotland’s laws are working – over 90% of the air gun attacks we see on cats happen in England and Wales, where there are no controls. This is shocking, and shows that there is a problem with air guns being used irresponsibly in Wales and England, with cats frequently being the innocent victims.
“Discovering a much-loved pet cat has been shot with an air gun is deeply distressing for any owner. It is also a great concern for the wider community, who will understandably be very anxious that dangerous weapons are being used by individuals living in their area.”
Cats Protection is calling for air guns to be licensed in Wales and England. Find out more about the charity’s campaign and to sign its petition.