Vets at an animal centre in Bridgend were shocked when a routine check led to the discovery of 14 shotgun pellets, lodged in the body of a cat.
Eight-year-old tortoiseshell Boots was brought into the Cats Protection Adoption Centre after its owner died.
A care assistant spotted a lump beneath one of the animal's ears but it was only after X-rays were carried out that the full extent of the cat's injuries were revealed.
Most of the pellets were removed by a vet, who said they are confident the ones that could not be taken out will not cause any further health problems for Boots.
They added that the cat was "very lucky" as "any one of the pellets could have been fatal".
Adoption centre manager, Sue Dobbs, explained that when the lump was first spotted under Boots' ears, they thought it would be a foreign object but were not expecting to find so many throughout the cat's body.
She said: “We thought the lump near Boots’s ear was going to be a foreign object because of its size and shape but it wasn’t until our vet removed it and I examined it that I realised it was pellet.
"A further scan then revealed her numerous injuries.
"It really is a miracle Boots survived the shooting. We can see from the X-rays that the pellets narrowly missed vital organs, her spinal cord and her brain.”
Vets managed to remove nine of the pellets but five were deemed too dangerous to take out.
Veterinary surgeon Katrina Cordell, said: “They were everywhere – behind her ear, under her chin, and even in her tail. Any one of them could have been fatal.
"We’re confident the remaining pellets won’t cause her problems. She is a very lucky kitty at the end of the day, none the worse for wear other than a rather odd looking haircut and a few stitches."
Boots is now recovering from her surgery and has already been reserved for adoption. Once her recovery is complete, she will be going to her new home.
Ms Dobbs added: “We’re so pleased that Boots’s story has a happy ending. Our vet bills run into thousands of pounds every month but the beginning of this year has been really hard on us.
"Alongside Boots, we’ve had a number of other cats needing operations.
"They are all recovering well but if anyone would like to lend a helping hand towards vet costs we’d be extremely grateful.”
Cats Protection is a volunteer-run charity and the Bridgend Adoption Centre has their own JustGiving appeal page where people can donate.