The RSPCA in Lincolnshire is appealing for information after a cat is believed to have been shot in the chest.
Kizzy's body was discovered by a litter picker four miles from its home in Tattershall Thorpe on March 24.
The six-year-old black cat had gone missing from its family home four days earlier.
RSPCA Inspector Kathleen Burris is investigating the incident, she said: "We believe poor Kizzy was shot at close range with a rifle in his chest.
"He would have suffered terribly and his owners are completely distraught by his death.
"His owners had been searching for their missing cat for days, putting up posters and posts on social media, to try and find him.
"The gentleman who found Kizzy’s body had seen the lost and found Facebook post so contacted the cat’s owners straight away. Kizzy’s body was taken to the vet and an x-ray confirmed he had been shot."
An x-ray of Kizzy showed that he had two wounds on his chest and a fractured rib, metal fragments were also found in the cat's body.
Anyone with information about the event is asked to ring the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.