A cat shot up the nose with an air rifle has had a pellet left permanently embedded in its skull in a “horrific” attack.
Two-year-old tabby cat Max was shot on September 7 in Blackridge, West Lothian, and is currently on an intensive course of antibiotics to fight off any infections as a consequence of the injury.
An x-ray revealed the pellet is deeply lodged between his eye socket and optic nerve, meaning the vet would need to remove the pet’s eye in order to extract it.
Owner Andrew Murchison said it has been a “horrific experience” for his family.
He said: “He managed to make it home and when he came into the living room he lost control of his back legs and his balance seemed to go.
“We couldn’t actually see anything wrong with him externally, so we assumed he was having a seizure.
“We took him straight to the vets, who carried out scans and blood tests. When we got Max home, the next day blood started pouring from his nose.
“He was transferred to the vet school in Edinburgh, where they operated on him for over three hours and were able to remove most of the shrapnel.
“However, the main body of the pellet was so deeply lodged in between his eye socket and optic nerve that they would have to remove his eye to get it out.”
A Scottish SPCA spokesman said: “It is appalling that animals such as Max are being targeted and caused such pain and suffering.
“Because the air rifle had been shot up Max’s nose at close range there was no entry wound. This was a horrific crime and Max is very fortunate to still be alive.
“Disturbingly, some people seem to think it is fun to maim and kill defenceless animals with air weapons and this is completely unacceptable in a modern, civilised society.”
New rules being introduced across Scotland in December will mean people who own or use an air weapon will need to have a licence as part of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.