HEART-BREAKING X-ray images show the injuries sustained on a cat that was shot 20 times with an air gun.
Pauline Duncan, from Logie Coldstone, Aberdeenshire, found her cat Nox acting strangely when he returned home on Thursday.
Her daughter Katie, a trainee vet, found what she thought were tick bites and shaved the one-year-old cat to have a closer look.
They were horrified to find what looked like dozens of pellet wounds across his back.
Pauline rushed Nox to Ashgrove Veterinary Centre in Peterculter where Katie works.
Distressing X-ray images show pellets all along Nox’s back and right side.
Other images show red marks across the beloved pet’s body after having the pellets removed during surgery.
The images were shared online by Deeside & Kincardine Cats Protection Scotland, with the caption: “This is unacceptable. A poor defenceless animal.
“If anyone knows or hears anything please contact the police or SSPCA.
“It’s a small community so someone will probably know something and no doubt the person responsible will not be able to keep this story to themselves.
“We don’t want this to happen to other cats.
“Now please understand this hopefully is an isolated incident and won’t happen again.
However it is better to be aware and vigilant.
“Our thoughts are with the family at this time.
“Any information please please contact the authorities or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 as it is imperative that the perpetrator who can use a shotgun on a cat receives lawful justice.”
The post now has almost 400 shares and comments from shocked animal lovers.
Samantha Hays said: “Omg poor baby, hope he has a speedy recovery and whoever did this is punished to the fullest extent of the law.
“I have three cats and would be absolutely devastated if any of them came home like this.”
Anne Kennedy said: “I’ve never understood how people can be so cruel to any animal.”
Russell Grant said: “Can’t believe what I’ve just read. Hoping the cat makes a full recovery and the person responsible brought to justice.”
And Linda Donaldson added: “Viscous attack on such a defenceless pet.
“Makes my blood boil. Hope the person responsible is found.”
Speaking today, Pauline, 53, said: “He’d been away for a couple of days, he came in late on Thursday night.
“He wasn’t himself, he looked tired, he was hissing when we went near him.
“Our daughter is a trainee vet so she had a look at him on Friday.
“She thought she found tick bites so she shaved him.
“Then we saw it was pellet wounds, so we called the vet.
“He went into the vet on Saturday and they found 20 pellets.
“It’s quite upsetting, I’m really worried now. We’ve got two other cats, and I’m scared to let them out now.
“I just wonder how long he was in pain.
“A few people in the area have said the same thing happened to their cat, so it is a problem.”
A spokeswoman for Ashgrove Veterinary Practice Peterculter today said: “He came in needing X-rays, they showed pellets all across his back and sides and his spine.
“There were two near the surface, and he is back in today to get the rest out.
“It’s awful, he’s a tiny little thing, they’re all at his back so he was obviously running away, not going up to anyone.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Officers received a report of a cat having been shot with an air weapon in the Logie Coldstone area around 11.10am on Saturday, 3 July, 2021. Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”