Willow the cat, pre-incidentThe RSPCA has launched an appeal for information following a cat shooting in Wrexham. 

Officers from the charity were alerted after a female cat, named Willow, was found to have a large air pellet lodged in the bone of her leg, near to the elbow joint.

Her owner – Katie Judd – rushed Willow, who is 11 and a half months old, to the vets after she was found outside her Minafon property on the evening of 18 April limping and acting very frightened. Willow had grass stains on her nose, and her face was covered in dirt.

There were fears the cat’s leg would have to be amputated. However, it was saved following surgery and owners now face a nervous wait to see how the cat’s leg responds in the coming weeks.

RSPCA Cymru continues to respond to emergencies amid the coronavirus outbreak. However, door-to-door enquiries following the shooting are not possible during the Covid-19 crisis, heightening the importance of this plea for information.

The animal welfare charity has long called for air gun owners to be required to hold a license, and say this latest sad incident is “another reminder” as to the potential dangers of using such weapons irresponsibly.

Nayman Dunderdale, RSPCA inspector, said: “With the country on lockdown and communities rallying around one another to offer support, it beggars belief that someone thought it acceptable to take pot shots at this poor helpless cat.

“Poor Willow was injured very badly from the air pellet, and her owners now face a nervous wait to see if the surgery proves successful in the longer-term.

“We’re urging the local community to come forward with information. Somebody must know something about how poor Willow ended up getting shot. Our inspectorate appeal line can be reached on 0300 123 8018.

 ”Air weapons can be so, so dangerous when used irresponsibly. This sad incident is another reminder of the problems they can pose. We continue to call for air gun owners to be required to hold a licence; alongside better education and explanations of the law when they are purchased.”

Katie Judd, owner of Willow, added: “This was such a horrible thing to happen to Willow. To think someone has targeted an innocent animal like this in my local area is absolutely shocking.

“If anybody has seen anything or has CCTV in the area, I urge them to respond to this RSPCA appeal.

“Thankfully, Willow has had her operation and is doing well. The bone has been stabilised, but the pellet has damaged the main nerve. Only time will tell over the next few weeks whether or not she will gain use of her leg again and if it will cause her permanent damage or constant pain – but so far she is doing well.

“I also hope by raising awareness we can stop this sort of thing happening again. There are a lot of cats in this area so I’m urging my neighbours to be extra vigilant.”

As the coronavirus crisis continues, RSPCA rescue teams are being stretched to their limit. The charity is asking the public to donate what they can to help keep officers on the road saving animals.

During this difficult time, the RSPCA’s priority is to help animals most in need. Please visit the RSPCA’s website for advice, information and support.