A cat has been shot in Downham, leaving its leg broken in four places.

At 12.30pm last Friday Dusty the domestic long-haired cat left his home in Shroffold Road for an afternoon wander.

Shanice Lindo, who has owned the 3-year-old since he was a kitten, said when he returned he was in a lot of pain.

The 21-year-old said: "My dad let the cat out at about 12.30 in the afternoon.

"When he came back an hour later he was limping really badly and crying.

"We called the vet and got an appointment at about five.

"The vet said someone had shot my cat with a pellet gun which had caused severe damage to his leg.

"The vet said it was really bad - his femur bone is broken in four places and the pellet was still lodged in his leg.

"He said he needed major surgery."

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The horrific break can be seen in the femur bone on the left hand side

Dusty was taken to a specialist vet where he received surgery costing £2,500.

Miss Lindo added: "When we found out what was wrong with him we had to take him to the specialist.

"They performed the surgery on his leg yesterday. He seems OK now, he is recovering and eating.

"I think, whoever did it, they are awful.

"I know some people don't like cats but don't shoot them.

"Maybe he walked into their backyard or maybe he was with someone else's cat and they didn't like that.

"I am scared to let Dusty out when he gets back. I think he'll be scared to go out.

"There are a lot of cats in the area and I want people to know so they can protect their cat."

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A gun pellet remained lodged in Dusty's leg 

Calie Rydings, of the RSPCA, said: "What goes through the heads of people who would shoot an animal like this is something I will never understand.

"Unfortunately it is not as rare as we would like, especially around this time of year when people are out and about.

"Cats and wildlife are more susceptible simply because they are out in the open with no one to protect them. The injuries caused by such attacks are horrific and often fatal. 

"These attacks are often deliberate by people who just don’t care about hurting animals or deliberately targeting animals to keep them away from gardens.

"It is illegal to shoot at and cause unnecessary suffering to any domestic animal with an air weapon."

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A police spokeswoman said: ""Anyone with information about this incident can call police on 101 or contact the Downham safer neighbourhoods team on 0208 721 2486."