We are appealing for information after a young cat had to have her leg amputated after being shot by an air rifle in Poole.

Phoenix the cat © RSPCA

Phoenix, an 18 month old pale ginger cat, left her home as usual late in the evening of 10 September.

Her brother Jinx returned home, but the cats’ owner Vicky Willan didn’t see Phoenix again until Friday morning (13 September) when she found the cat at the front of her house crying and unable to bear weight on her right front leg.

Ms Willan immediately took Phoenix to the Pets Health Partnership in Upton.  After x-rays and examinations, vets found an air weapon pellet had shattered the cat’s leg above her elbow.  Further examinations revealed that nothing could be done to save the leg and it had to be amputated.

Ms Willan said:

“We were extremely worried when Phoenix didn’t come home as usual at the weekend, but when the vets told us that she had been injured by an air weapon we couldn’t believe it.


“Phoenix was so distressed and, although she is recovering, this has really upset her and it’s so sad seeing her like this.  We hope that seeing the consequences of this sort of attack will make someone think twice before shooting at an animal in future.


“We just want people in the area to be aware in case this happens to any more animals and for parents to make sure that if their children have air weapons they are not using them illegally.”

Air weapon attacks are increasing

There were 799 air weapon attacks reported to us in 2012.  This was an increase of 40 compared to 2011 (759).  Shocking figures show that for the first six months of 2013, 438 reports had already been received.  Cats are the second most targeted animal after wild birds.

RSPCA Inspector Graham Hammond said:

“We need to find out who was behind the attack on Phoenix.  These attacks are often deliberate by people who just don’t care about hurting animals or are deliberately targeting animals to keep them away from gardens.


“Whoever carries out these attacks needs to understand that they are illegal and you face up to six months in prison if caught.”

We are calling for tighter controls on air weapons with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun and that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop.

Find out more about air weapons and the law.

Can you help?

Anyone with information can call the inspector information line on 0300 123 8018.

We can’t do it without you

The RSPCA has helped to fund Phoenix’s treatment.  To help support work like this please donate online or text HELP to 78866 now to give £3.

(Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).