A stray cat was found caring for its five kittens despite being “in agony” after an air rifle attack.
18-month-old Leoni was rescued by Cats Protection in July after she was found with her litter in a garden in Skegness, Lincolnshire.
A veterinary exam found that she had two air rifle bullets in her head – one behind her ear and another on the back of her neck.
Fiona Smith, a volunteer in the charity’s Skegness and District Department, said, “Poor Leoni has had her injuries for a while, but she was still caring for her five young kittens.
“At 18 months she is barely an adult herself, but in her short life she has been attacked with an air rifle, left on her own as a stray and raised five kittens.
“And after all, she’s the friendliest cat I’ve ever come across.
“The vet noticed something was wrong because she felt a bump behind her ear and an x-ray, and that’s when she saw the pellets. It was such a shock to hear that someone had done something so cruel to her. “
Due to the location of the pellets, Leoni underwent surgery to remove them to avoid future complications.
The branch is now Fundraising to pay the treatment costs.
Leoni is now staying with one of her kittens, Leonard. Her four other kittens have also moved into a new home.
Ms. Smith added, “Leoni is an adorable cat and we are very excited that she was discovered and that we were able to get her the help she needed.
“In addition to the pellet removal operation, she has now been spayed and her future looks much better.”
Cats Protection estimates that more than 100 cases of air gun attacks on cats were reported in 2020.
The charity requires that a license be required to purchase air rifles in England and Wales, as is the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It warned: “Leoni’s story is not an isolated incident. Every year, many cats are attacked by air rifles and often suffer life-changing or fatal injuries.”
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