Hayley Hogan can't believe someone kicked her family cat so hard they broke his ribcage in two, leaving the animal in "excruciating pain" and its owners fearful he might not survive.
The 5-year-old cat, Chino, one of two identical cats originally adopted from the Rotorua SPCA, was discovered about three weeks ago laying on his cat gym unable to tolerate being patted, Mrs Hogan said.
"It's ironic he came from the SPCA and this should happen to him."
Rushing their beloved pet to the Vet Club for treatment, x-rays discovered Chino's sternum was broken, pushing his ribs upwards and splitting the ribcage in two.
The veterinarian said the cat had probably been kicked with force as there were no signs of "trauma" under his nails, she said.
"The sternum had been broken in half. His ribcage was split in two."
Chino was sedated and monitored for the weekend with his prognosis unsure.
"We thought we would have to put him down. My kids shouldn't have had to see their cat in pain like that. We've had to explain to them that this is the real world. Not everyone is nurturing and caring to cats."
Mrs Hogan is cross with whoever hurt Chino.
"They need to know what they have done."
The family have so far spent about $500 on treatment for Chino.
"At first I was in shock then I got really angry. It's totally unnecessary to kick a cat like this. If they bother you, [spray] a hose on them. I just can't believe someone would harm a defenceless animal like this - putting in the boot like this."
If she caught up with the culprit, she'd have a thing or two to say to them: "They need to know this isn't right."
Meanwhile, she fears for his identical sibling, Ripples.
"I'm scared he will go onto someone's property and they will think it is Chino and kick him again telling him 'he didn't learn a lesson the first time'. Cats are cats and I know they can be annoying but (spray) a hose on them - don't severely kick them," she said.
The Lynmore family's story sounds similar to an Auckland case which featured in the Herald on Sunday. A St Mary's Bay couple spent $3000 after their 3-year-old cat Wembley was brutally attacked. His abdominal wall was split open with his internal organs wedged between his muscles and skin along with a damaged liver and fractured sternum.
Vet Club veterinarian Stacey Tremain said Chino was lucky because had the kick to the chest been a bit harder or slightly back, the injuries could have been a lot worse.
"He could barely walk. He was trying to take all the weight on his back legs. When you tried to pick him up he just went through the roof."
It could be another month before Chino can be out wandering again.