The RSPCA is investigating after a cat shot with an air rifle had to have his leg amputated.

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Arthur, an 18-month-old black longhair cat, was found by his owner Kevin Morrison limping after going missing for a day from his home in Boulton Drive, Alvaston on Sunday, 26 June.

He was taken to a vet, where X-rays revealed the pellet from an air rifle lodged in his leg.

Kevin said: “At first I thought that maybe he had a thorn in his paw, but we couldn’t find anything. Then we got him to a vets, and that’s when they found a small hole in his front right leg. The pellet had gone through into his bone and he was left in a lot of pain.

“Sadly, the vet said the only way that he would be free from pain was if he had his leg amputated, and the surgery went ahead last Monday (27 June). He is back at home now and he does seem to be recovering well.

“I was very angry at first because I couldn’t believe that someone would do this deliberately to an animal. Arthur has never roamed from the house very far as he is always home within a minute when I call him from outside, so it is worrying that this has happened.”

RSPCA inspector Sarah Gardner, who is investigating, said: “This is a very sad incident which has left a cat in a lot of pain and distress. This has also been incredibly stressful for Arthur’s owner, who has had to witness his pet go through this.

“We want to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard anything which might help us find out what happened to Arthur and we will follow up any leads that are reported to us.

“This was obviously very upsetting for the whole family but I am pleased to hear Arthur is recovering.

“We would like to remind people that under the Animal Welfare Act, if someone is caught deliberately using an air weapon to injure an animal, they could face a £20,000 fine and up to six months in prison.”

Anyone with information about this attack can report it by calling the RSPCA inspectorate line on 0300 123 8018 and leaving a message for Inspector Gardner.

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.)