Vets at a Northampton surgery were shocked to find a cat brought by its owners had been shot with an air rifle and had a pellet lodged near her spine.
'Mitzy' came home to her owners late on November 25 after being missing all day. But her family noticed the tabby cat was dragging her hind legs behind her and was wounded.
They brought her to Vets4Pets Northampton, in St James Road, where an x-ray revealed she had been shot.
Practice partner Jenny Millington, who cared for Mitzy, said: "I thought at first she had been hit by a car the way she was dragging her legs. I was so shocked to see she had been shot."
The air pellet had penetrated the muscle beside her spinal cord, leading to severe bruising and swelling that affected her back legs.
But the vets felt the family pet's movement could be saved with surgery.
She went into theatre, where the wound was cleaned and the pellet was removed. By the next day, she was back on her legs.
Jenny said: "It' will need some lengthy rehabilitation but things are looking very promising.
"It's just so upsetting that anyone would do this and purposefully injure or even kill a cat."
Nearly two weeks on, Mitzy's owners say she is back on her feet and is able to climb the stairs again.
Anyone who finds a sick or injured animal in distress can call the RSPCA hotline on 0300 1234 999.