The RSPCA is appealing for information after a cat lost his eye after being shot at close range in the face with an air rifle in a Leicestershire village.

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Bookah, a black shorthair, was rushed to the vets on Wednesday, 28 October after his owner Emily Russ found the horrific injuries to his face.

The five-year-old cat was x-rayed at the vets, where it was found that his right eyeball had ruptured and that shrapnel from the pellets had become embedded into his skull. His eyeball had to be removed and he is now recovering at home in Livesey Drive, in Sapcote, Leicestershire.

Emily, 37, said the incident has left her devastated. She said: “Whoever has done this is a sick-minded individual. They’re not just hurting an animal – they are hurting the animal’s family too.”

Emily discovered Bookah’s injuries after he had been out for four days. She said: “Bookah usually does go out for multiple days at a time so I don’t usually worry, and when he does come back he always wants a fuss. But when he came back on Wednesday, he ran straight inside and didn’t want any fuss at all. I thought it was strange. I found him on the landing and saw the injuries to his face. It looked as though he had raw meat on his face, it was horrific.

“I took him straight to the vets, and the vet said they believed Bookah had the injury for two days. They had to keep him in and give him antibiotics. He is at home now, but he is very timid – you can tell he has had a fright.

“Sadly, the vet told me that the shrapnel in his skull may affect his lifespan. He has now got a head full of metal.

“The pellet went straight through his eyeball, so the vet believes that whoever did this shot Bookah at close range.

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“I am disabled and Bookah is my main companion – I just don’t know what I’d do if I lose him. I can’t understand why someone would do this. Where I live is a safe area, but now I’m finding myself thinking, ‘Where is this person who did this to Bookah?’”

RSPCA inspector Sarah Bate said: “Bookah is very lucky to have survived such a horrific incident. It must have been horribly distressing for him to go through this and he would have been in great pain.

“This has also been very distressing for Emily, who dotes on Bookah.

“We do not know for sure how this happened but we want to make sure that no other animal has to go through this again.

“We urge anyone who has any information at all about this incident to contact the RSPCA in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.”

Those found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal could face a maximum six-month prison sentence and/or a £20,000 fine.

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).