A Mansfield cat had a miraculous escape after being shot in the head TWICE by sick thugs.
But nine-month-old Angel lost an eye after he was attacked close to his home in Austin Close.
X-rays revealed two pellets, one lodged in the soft tissue just behind his right cheek and one in his left eye - which meant his eye had to be removed.
He also had a cut on his nose and his left ear.
It was only the young cat’s third venture outside in the area.
His owner 13-year-old Chloe, her mum Giselle Covel and all the family were left devastated.
Now the RSPCA is investigating the brutal attack and urging anyone with information to get in touch.
Owner Giselle said: “It’s hard to believe or imagine that someone is capable of doing this but apparently people are.
“He doesn’t deserve that. It just makes me so angry. He is the sweetest cat and did not deserve to be harmed and maimed like this. To choose to harm an animal you must have a totally different set of values to most of us.”
Angel’s owner thought he had been hit by a car or beaten up when she first found him sitting in his favourite chair after coming in from outside and quickly realised something was wrong.
She was told by vets that it was likely he had been hit by a car and sustained severe head trauma but when they carried out an X-ray the airgun pellets were found.
She added: “He had beautiful eyes and now he has lost his eye. Finding out someone had shot him and that was this deliberate just made it all the much worse.
“It should be safe for both of my cats to go out and have a happy healthy normal cat life.”
Despite being shot in the head and having his eye removed, Angel is recovering well from his ordeal.
RSPCA Inspector Keith Ellis, who is investigating, said: “An angel must have been watching over him that day for him to survive being shot in the head.
“It is distressing to think that people take pleasure in causing such horrific injuries to defenceless animals.
To shoot a cat with an airgun is a brutal and callous act of cruelty and poor Angel has been left with life-changing injuries.
“We often find that the people responsible for attacks like this are adults but sometimes it can be children who are messing around with an airgun. My advice would be not to buy an airgun for your children and if you do, do not let them use it unsupervised.”
The number of calls to the RSPCA reporting airgun attacks on animals is set to reach a five-year high this year.
Britain’s biggest animal charity has already received more than 470 calls about such incidents in the first six months of the year, compared to 455 during the same period for 2016.
Dermot Murphy, Assistant Director of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: “We receive hundreds of calls from devastated cat owners every year after they discover their beloved pets have been shot.
“It often leaves the victim with life-changing injuries, such as the lost of an eye, or even requiring the amputation of a limb. In some tragic instances, the injuries even prove fatal.
“It is difficult to understand how anyone could carry out these mindless attacks on innocent animals and we are backing calls for stricter regulations around owning an airgun. This, along with better education and explanation of the law when buying an air gun, as well as requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop could help relieve the problem.”
Anyone caught deliberately using an airgun to injure an animal can face up to six months in prison and/or a £20,000 fine if found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act.
If you have any information on what happened to Angel please contact the inspectorate appeal line, in strictest confidence, on 0300 123 8018 and reference inspector Ellis.