A CAT had to have a leg amputated after being shot.

Cleo faces a long road to recovery after vets were forced to remove the limb, which was shattered by a BB pellet.

The five-year-old cat is thought to have been sunbathing in one of her favourite spots when the attack happened, fracturing her leg in three places.

Despite the best efforts of Eastcott Vets, the leg had to be removed at a cost of £4,500 in bills to owner Kelvin Cates.

“She had two operations before they had to amputate the leg,” said Kelvin, 41, of New Street, Chiseldon. “When the person shot her the pellet went into her leg, and they think it fractured one of the bones before it ricocheted up and fractured the bone at the top of her shoulder.

“She had one operation to put plates into her hock – the equivalent of our ankle – but it didn’t work and the bone refractured.”

The incident occurred some time between 2.30pm and 6pm, on March 28, before Cleo made a dash for safety.

“What is amazing is that she had made it back to the house, because she managed to jump over a six foot fence and get through the cat flap with her leg like that,” said Kelvin.

“She tends to go out along the next gardens, and there is a field just behind where she will roam. She does not tend to cross the road too much so we expect she would have been this side of the road.

“The pellet itself mushroomed because it hit the bone so hard. They think she would have been sunbathing at the time, because the entry wound was on the inside of the leg. She was a sitting target for whoever did it.”

The extent of the injuries made vets believe she had been shot a number of times.

“At first they thought she had been shot three times,” Kelvin said. “It was only after the first operation when they removed the pellets when they realised it had all been made by one shot.

“This would have been five seconds of perverse pleasure for whoever did this, but eight days in the vets for Cleo including two big operations. “Someone has had their fun but she is only just learning to walk again. Today is the first day she has come down the stairs by herself, so she is improving. It might be quite a few weeks before she can go out again.

“Eastcott Vets were phenomenal. They have been amazing and did everything they could to try to save her leg.

“We just want to make people aware there is someone going around doing this. It starts with animals, but then what happens when they get bored of that?”

PCSO Emma Turner, of Chiseldon, said: “What we have seen is three separate wounds which have meant the leg has had to be amputated.

“There is a considerable bill for all the medical treatment she has had to endure, and it is just lucky that is all covered by insurance.”

Anyone with information about the incident or about anyone in the area who has a gun should contact PSCO Turner on non-emergency number 101.