A HORRIFIED pet owner is pleading with cat lovers to be vigilant after her tabby was shot through the neck with an air rifle.

Jasmine Thomson admits four-year-old cat Little Legs is lucky to be alive after the incident, and says he has been left traumatised ever since.

Jasmine became aware of the gunshot wound after spotting trails of blood around her house and noticed Little Legs behaving strangely.

After a quick inspection, she found he had a small five-millimetre wound in his neck and quickly took him off to the vets for treatment.

She said: “We took him off to be X-rayed and they found the bullet had gone straight through into his lungs.

“They decided not to operate on him because it would cause too much disruption to his other organs and they are hoping it won’t impact on his health too much.

“But we don’t really know what the long-term side-effects will be.

“It’s heartbreaking to see him now because he is so scared and doesn’t seem interested in going out anymore.

“He had only just started to go outside the house and he was loving life so much.

“But he’s a completely different cat now.”

Jasmine believes Little Legs was shot somewhere near to her home in Church End, Shalford, at about 8.30pm on Saturday.

She has reported the incident to both the police and RSPCA, but no suspect has yet been identified.

Jasmine says she has been informed of similar incidents in the area involving animals being targeted with guns and is calling on anyone with information about the shootings to contact police.

She added: “You can see Little Legs was deliberately shot because of where the wound is.

“It’s hard to think why anyone would do something like this.

“It’s not like you can stop a cat from going outside but I think it’s safer if owners keep them inside at night when it gets dark.

“I’ve spoken to farmers in the area and they say they have had people accessing their land to shoot rabbits and other wildlife.

“It’s becoming quite common in the villages and you do worry these people will one day try and shoot a person.”

Anyone with information should contact police in 101.