Cat 'lucky to be alive' after being shot with an air rifle in North Shields

X-rays showed that ‘Roy’ the cat had an airgun pellet embedded in his spine. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

A cat is "lucky to be alive" after it was shot with an air rifle in North Shields and had to have its tail amputated.

Dani Peters, 26, lives with her husband Elliot in North Shields and the couple have two rescue cats named Roy and Ian, both of whom are around five years old.

Last Friday, Ms Peters noticed that black and white tabby Roy was a little subdued and his tail "wasn't working at all".


Following a trip to the vets, it was thought that Roy had fallen or his tail had been pulled. However, when he had surgery to remove his tail on Wednesday, X-rays showed an airgun pellet embedded in his spine, which had previously been obscured by his thick fur.

Vets told the couple that if the pellet had hit Roy's next vertebrae up, he would have been paralysed and would have to have been put down.

Ms Peters, who runs a vintage furniture restoration business with her husband, said: "I'm just so disgusted, what kind of person would hurt an innocent animal that's done nothing wrong?

"He's so friendly, I don't get why anyone would do that. It's made us feel a bit unsafe about the area to be honest."


She added: "The worst thing is he doesn't travel far from home, he's either in the front or back garden or walking up and down the street and that's what's made us more uneasy. Because he doesn't go far, that's what's made us think it's happened pretty close to home."

The couple are now considering building a "catio" so that Roy and Ian can go outside without the risk of any similar incidents occurring, and have warned other cat owners to "keep an eye out".

Ms Peters added: "Ian goes out in the afternoon but as soon as it gets to 5pm we're bringing him in. It's such a tricky one but I'd tell people to keep an eye out constantly and make sure their cats are close to home and that they know where they are."


Thankfully, the operation to remove Roy's tail was a success and he is back at home, albeit a little more placid and subdued than he was before.

Ms Peters continued: "Since he's had his tail off, he's getting there.

"He's just taking it in his stride, he's sleeping a lot now. He's slower in himself as well and a bit more cautious with where he moves, bless him."

The couple are also getting used to the new tail-less Roy, with Ms Peters saying: "It's shaken us to be honest, we're still processing what's happened because they thought he fell, then that someone had pulled his tail, but the worst possible thing you could hear is that your cat got shot.

"We were just so distraught when we found out that information and it's just so heartbreaking - but the vet said he's been quite lucky and we're glad he's alive".


It has also come at a cost for Ms Peters and her husband, who have had to fork out almost £1,000 so far, which they hope they will be able to claim back on insurance.

She finished: "It was really hard in terms of our cashflow, being a small business and managing personal and business finances is hard anyway.

"We've used quite a lot of our savings, that's stuff we have put away for bills and it's massively impacted us.

"Hopefully in two weeks we'll get that back but having to pay that up front was quite a lot."

Northumbria Police confirmed that they were aware of the incident.

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