A Forest Lake couple was in shock after one of their cats had a near brush with death after being shot with a slug gun, with the bullet just missing vital organs.
On April 2, Mike and Hayley's four-year-old cat Billy had been let outside for the afternoon at their Hinton Drive home. When he returned in the evening the couple noticed he was limping.
"He came in and started meowing, which he doesn't usually do. We took him into the bedroom and we noticed there was blood as well," Mike said.
"We took him to the new after hours vets and they said it was too big a wound to be a bite, but they would like to do an X-ray to see if it was a bullet."
"We kind of stood there and joked sure, it's not going to be that, but rule it out."
The X-ray results stunned Mike and Haley. A small bullet was lodged in the cat's rear right leg, missing vital organs by a couple of centimetres.
Billy has recovered from his brush with death, but is now more nervous around people.
Mike approached his closest neighbours to inform them that the cat had been shot with a pellet gun.
"I wasn't pointing the finger at anyone, I was just alerting the neighbours."
The couple are confused as to who would have shot Billy, but were even more shocked when told by the SPCA that it has been a common occurrence recently.
Hamilton News contacted the SPCA who said due to the way it records animal welfare complaints it couldn't give accurate figures of cat shootings.
"However, there were several reported and investigated by SPCA in the past 12 months."
In February, the SPCA was made aware that two cats were shot in a rural Rotorua village with a high-powered slug gun.
The SPCA is investigating the incident in Hamilton.
"The cat shooting was referred to SPCA's Inspectorate, but we don't have much evidence.
"We ask anyone who witnessed this, has further information about this incident, or anyone in the area whose cat has been injured in a similar way to please call SPCA and lodge an animal welfare complaint."
The couple's vet bills are well over $1000, and since they have a new-born baby, the incident was unneeded stress.
"We're not going to ask for help with the bills. The reason we are trying to make this public is to bring more light to these incidents," Mike said.
"I just want to see how common this is, because I was incredibly surprised when the vet said this was quite common," Haley said.
"The vet said call the police and call the SPCA and just basically let people know. We have suspicions of what happened but we don't quite really know."