Shocking X-rays reveal the damage thugs caused when they shot a defenceless cat at close range with an air rifle.
Karen Nilsson, 47, has been left “disgusted” after finding her four-year-old pet in the garden with severe injuries to her chest and leg.
The staff nurse rushed the cat, named Hazel, to the vets where she was given pain relief.
But the following day a decision was taken to humanely put down the feline as her leg would have to be amputated.
Animal welfare officers have now appealed for information to catch the culprits who blasted the cat multiple times.
But Karen and her family have been left devastated.
The mum-of-two, from Ayr, Ayrshire, said: “I’m quite disgusted. I’m still trying to get over it.
“We’ve had her from a kitten and it’s caused a lot of upset as she was a much-loved family pet.
“The vets discovered that she suffered a gunshot wound from an air rifle. She probably would have had her leg amputated but we did not want to put her through that.
“It’s not the sort of thing you’d expect in a built-up area. We’re obviously devastated. It’s been really upsetting for the family.”
Officers with the Scottish SPCA have now appealed for information to catch the thugs who targeted the family pet on 29 January.
An undercover inspector from the charity’s Special Investigations Unit said: “Hazel must have been in extreme pain and somehow found her way home.
“After the vet X-rayed her she realised that the feline had been shot which resulted in a chest wound and three breaks to her leg.
“The vet felt the kindest thing for Hazel would be to put her to sleep.
“Anyone with information is being urged to contact our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”
Shooting an animal is a serious offence and anyone found guilty of doing so can face stiff penalties including a prison sentence and a substantial fine of up to £20,000.