A pet cat has lost an eye - but is lucky to be alive - after being shot with an air rifle.
RSPCA officers say the cat could easily have been killed.
Owner Jenny Hughes found her 18-month-old ginger cat Kara at home in Hardie Street, Eckington, with her eye bulging - and at first Jenny thought she had been hit by a car.
But when Kara was rushed to the vet and had her eye X-rayed it was discovered she had been shot with an air rifle.
The pellet was removed but it had caused so much damage to Kara’s left eye it could not be saved.
Kara survived the operation but the RSPCA says had the pellet gone in at a slightly different angle she would have been killed.
Now the charity’s officers are appealing for information from people in the area to try to make sure a similar thing does not happen again.
Jenny said: “Despite what has happened Kara is doing very well, but we cannot believe this has happened to her.
“She’s not doing too badly. She’s just getting on with it, she’s a strong little cat - we’ve had her just over a year from when she was a kitten.”
Jenny, a 39-year-old mother of two, who has three cats in total, said she had never experienced any previous problems of such a kind.
“The vet hadn’t seen any similar incidents either. This is a quiet little area, that’s why we were so shocked.
“We just hope that by highlighting this we can prevent this happening to any other cats or animals in the area.
“It sounds strange to say, given that she was shot, but she was very lucky - she didn’t die as a result. So far she seems to be coping okay with the one eye.
“I just don’t want anything like it to happen again - I have two children, Sam and Summer who is only a baby, and next time it could be a child who is shot, not a cat.”
The RSPCA says 799 air weapon attacks were reported to the charity in 2012 - an increase of 40 compared to 2011.
Inspector Mick Darling said: “Shocking figures show that, for the first six months of 2013, 438 reports had already been received. Cats are the second most targeted animal after wild birds.
“We need to find out who was behind the attack on Kara. Whoever carries out these attacks needs to understand that they are illegal and you face up to six months in prison if caught.”
The RSPCA is also calling for tighter controls on air weapons with better education and explanation of the law when anyone buys an air gun.
It also says that people purchasing such guns must receive basic safety training before being allowed to walk out of the shop.
Anyone with information can call the RSPCA’s inspector information line on 0300 123 8018.