An air rifle attack has left a pet cat in Rawdon maimed for life, and his owners in shock.

Nine-year-old Phoebe Cliffe’s cat, Merlin, somehow managed to get back to the family home in Pennythorne Drive after being shot with a pellet that shattered the bone in one of his back legs.

Merlin was so badly injured that vets who pulled out an air rifle pellet that had gone through the leg and back into his body, close to his heart, were forced to amputate the injured limb.

The incident, which happened on the afternoon of Saturday, March 24, when Merlin had been wandering in nearby fields off Gill Lane, has not only left the Cliffes with a disabled cat, but also a £2,000 vets bill.

Phoebe’s mother, Jackie, has reported the incident to the police, but acknowledges there is little they can do until a witness, or someone with information, comes forward.

She said: “We have no idea who has done this or why. It’s unbelievable what some people will do.

“Merlin, who is only two, is my daughter Phoebe’s cat, so she is very upset.

“We just found him in the garden bleeding quite heavily. He’d been shot with an air gun and the vet said it must have been a pretty powerful one because of the damage it had done. The police have been up and asked about, but they also suggested putting out an appeal in the press to see if that will prick anyone’s conscience or make someone come forward with information that could help."

“Merlin’s on the mend now, thankfully, and trying to get used to only having one back leg, but we can’t let him back out yet and he’s not too happy with himself.”

Anybody who saw the incident or has information can contact PC Tracy July at Otley Police Station on 01274 471461 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.