Cat survives second airgun shooting

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SHE'S already survived a horrific attack in which she was shot four times and left with a shattered leg.

Now Tootsie, the short-haired moggy, has used another of her nine lives after being targeted with an airgun for a second time.

Owner Eileen Leckie, who lives in Whitburn, noticed a small lump on seven-year-old Tootsie's stomach after bathing her earlier in the week.

Sadly, it was a case of dj vu for Mrs Leckie, whose other cat Gizmo - Tootsie's brother - was also the victim of an airgun attack three years ago.

She said: "When I was drying Tootsie I noticed a tiny, solid lump underneath her belly. She was going absolutely berserk when you touched it.

"History is basically repeating itself because Gizmo got targeted in 2008, along with his sister Tootsie."

The feline brother and sister were saved by the PDSA in summer 2008 after falling victim to brutal airgun attacks, which could have killed them.Gizmo, nine, was the first to be attacked, before Tootsie was targeted barely a month later.

At the time Mrs Leckie and her husband Peter, 40, rushed Gizmo to the Capital's PDSA PetAid hospital, where a wound was discovered on his right side. An X-ray revealed it had been caused by an airgun pellet, which was lodged in his abdomen, as well as another airgun pellet in his left leg.

Around four weeks later, veterinary staff at the hospital were shocked when the Leckies brought in Tootsie with similar injuries. Following the most recent attack, Tootsie required another operation at the PDSA hospital on Wednesday to remove the pellet.

Mrs Leckie, a mother of one, said: "We were worried that she wasn't going to get through it - there's only so many times a cat can get shot and come back.

"The vet said the pellet was just under the skin and no more but at the back of your mind you're thinking, 'I don't want to lose my cat'. We are so grateful to the PDSA."

Mrs Leckie also said Gizmo lost an eye in 2008, shortly before the attack, which resulted in him losing a kidney. She believes it was the result of another airgun attack.

The 35-year-old also said one of her neighbour's cats was shot with an airgun - and killed - last week.

The stay-at-home mum said: "We were thinking it was somebody targeting us or our cats specifically, but then we heard about what happened to our neighbour's cat."

She added: "Why not fire the airgun at cola cans - why does it have to be an innocent animal that can't defend itself?"

Mrs Leckie said she had no idea who was responsible for the attacks but believes it may well be the same person or people.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Police said: "Police are investigating a report of an animal being struck by a pellet in Whitburn."