Cat continued to care for five kittens despite being 'in agony' after air gun attack

By Erin Santillo

A stray cat was found caring for her five kittens despite being "in agony" following an air gun attack.

Eighteen-month-old Leoni was rescued by Cats Protection in July after being found with her litter in a garden in Skegness, Lincolnshire.

A vet check revealed that she had two air gun pellets lodged inside her head – one behind her ear and another in her neck.

Fiona Smith, a volunteer at the charity's Skegness and District branch, said: “Poor Leoni must have been in agony for some time from her injuries, yet still she was caring for her five young kittens.

“At 18-months-old she’s barely an adult herself yet in her short life she has been attacked with an air gun, fended for herself as a stray and reared five kittens.

"And after all that, she’s the friendliest cat I’ve probably ever come across.

“The vet noticed something wasn’t right because she felt a bump behind her ear and an X-ray and that’s when she saw the pellets. It was such a shock to hear that somebody had done something so cruel to her.”

Due to the location of the pellets, Leoni underwent surgery to remove them to prevent future complications.

The branch is now fundraising to help with the cost of her treatment.

Leoni has since been rehomed with one of her kittens, Leonard. Her four other kittens have also now gone to new homes.

An X-ray of Leoni's head, showing the two pellets lodged behind her ear and in her neck (Cats Protection) (Cats Protection)

Ms Smith added: “Leoni is a delightful cat and we’re so pleased she was discovered and we could get her the help she needed.

"Along with surgery to remove the pellets, she’s also now been neutered and her future looks much brighter.”

Cats Protection estimates there were more than 100 reported cases of air gun attacks on cats in 2020.

The charity is calling for the purchasing of air guns in England and Wales to require a licence, as is the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It warned: "Leoni’s story is not a one-off, with many cats attacked by air guns every year, often sustaining life-changing or fatal injuries."

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.


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