The Scottish SPCA was called in to rescue the distressed female cat after she was seriously injured after being shot with an airgun in the Hurlford area of Kilmarnock last Wednesday.
A local resident found the injured cat leaning against a wall with a bleeding leg.
An SSPCA spokeswoman said: “Animal Rescue Officer Alistair Hill collected the black and white cat and took her to a local vet clinic where an airgun pellet was found embedded in her leg. X-rays have revealed that her front right leg has been shattered and will sadly need to be amputated.
“The cat, now named Poppy, is receiving treatment and care at the Scottish SPCA’s Glasgow Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre at Cardonald.”
Mr Hill said: “Poppy had been seen visiting gardens in the area over the past ten days or so and it seems that she has now been cruelly targeted in a malicious airgun attack.”
He continued: “As well as appealing for any information on this incident we’re also trying to trace this poor cat’s owner. She’s not micro-chipped, nor was she wearing a collar, so we’re hoping someone out there will recognise her.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve been called to investigate cat-related cruelty in Hurlford. In December 2008 we investigated two cat deaths as a result of carborfuran poisoning.Unfortunately the source was never found and the incidents ceased after we publicised the matter, but it now seems that cats are once again the subject of animal abuse.”
Mr Hill added: “This is yet another disturbing example of a defenceless creature being maimed as a result of airgun misuse.”
Anyone who recognises Poppy is being asked to call the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.