The Rotorua SPCA is investigating the shooting, maiming, and killing of at least two pet cats in Mamaku in two weeks.
Animal welfare inspector Talia Jenkins told the Rotorua Daily Post "The cats have been left with horrific injuries".
The SPCA began to draw a link between the incidents when two separate cats were found with the bullet still inside them in the past fortnight, within the same block of homes, and both were shot in daylight hours.
Jenkins said the bullets "appear very similar" and the cats had been maimed from being shot.
She said the two separate owners were "really distraught" and "very upset" because their cats were "well-loved, family pets" that she described as "fur babies".
"They're [the owners] just really sad, really stressed and just really worried for their babies really."
The SPCA was in the early stage of the investigation, but Jenkins said it was "desperately seeking any information" from the public, or "any leads to the person responsible".
"Mamaku is a small, lovely community. So I urge anyone who has overheard a conversation, seen suspicious activity or noticed something out of the ordinary, even if their cat is missing currently, just to get in touch."
In September, the Rotorua Daily Post reported the mystery fatal shooting of beloved 14-year-old pet cat Booboo, in Mamaku.
The vocal, cuddly, pet learned to do high fives and sit on request at age 10.
Jenkins said it was too early to tell if Booboo's killing, which was investigated by police, was linked to those in the past two weeks.
Booboo's owner, Belinda Walker, said police had not been able to find her cat's killer.
She was concerned to hear of more cat shootings in Mamaku and offered support to the affected owners.
"I'm really sorry for them. It is such a horrific thing to go through. It also worries me that there is someone loose with a firearm. What if it's a child next?"
Walker said initially Booboo's death was "really, really tough".
"I found it difficult to work and just trust people."
She has since rescued a new cat from the SPCA.
"But I don't let it out at night, or when someone's not home ... I'm scared it will happen again," Walker said.
"For a while, I did not want another cat at all, but I believe a house is not a home without a pet."
Since losing Booboo, Walker and her partner have also joined the Mamaku Residents' Association, "to make something positive out of something negative".
"At the meeting next week we are going to discuss the cat shooting. We are thinking about a pamphlet drop or something, to help those affected, but also the person or persons responsible.
"Obviously something is really terribly wrong with them. Especially with the mental health inquiry going on, I mean, why don't we be proactive rather than reactive?"
Jenkins said it was concerning to think about possible motives for the attacks.
"These cats aren't strays, they're pets. They're healthy, they're well looked after."
She said those responsible could face criminal charges under the Animal Welfare Act.
For now, Jenkins said cat-owners in Mamaku needed to be vigilant.
"Make sure they [the cats] come back at morning and at night or whenever they get fed ... Just keep both eyes open really."
If you have any information
- Visit the Rotorua SPCA shelter at 24 Old Taupo Rd
- Call on (07) 349 2955, with the reference number 97980