A couple have told how their pet cat was lucky to be alive after being shot with an airgun.

Samuel Wark, 31, and partner Savannah Milnes-Bell, 24, of Lockwood, were worried when long-haired Siberian Forest cat Georgie went missing.

When she eventually returned she was lame behind and the couple rushed her to the vets – only for an x-ray to reveal a pellet embedded in her body.

Samuel, a civilian police worker, said: “We were completely shocked at what happened. I can’t believe there is someone out there who thinks it’s fun to shoot a cat and we just want to raise awareness.

Georgie the cat's airgun wound - Hanson Lane, Lockwood.

“Another millimetre and Georgie could have been completely paralysed or worse.”

Savannah told how Georgie, not quite two years old, went missing last Thursday. The following morning they found her and Savannah, a student doctor in her final year, said it was immediately obvious something terrible had happened.

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She said: “As soon as I saw her I could see that she couldn’t walk, she was completely lame at the back.

“We took her to the vets and originally we thought she had some kind of pelvic injury.

“X-rays were taken and I was surprised and angry when I discovered what had occurred.

An x-ray of Georgie reveals her injuries

“If the wound had been just slightly higher, a matter of millimetres, she would have died.”

Georgie is recovering at home but has a wound to her back. The pellet cannot be removed due to its proximity to the spine and Georgie would have been in a great deal of pain.

The couple have reported what happened to the RSPCA and the police and they are scouring CCTV images for clues as to who may be responsible.

RSPCA inspector Emma Brook said: “This is a very distressing case for both Georgie and her family.

“Thankfully she managed to make her way home with her horrific injury and was found by her owners.

Savannah Milnes-Bell with her cat Georgie who was shot with an airgun - Hanson Lane, Lockwood.

“We hope that Georgie makes a full recovery, however she should never have been put in this position and gone through this suffering in the first place.

“It is likely that it was a deliberate and callous act of cruelty.”

Anyone with information should contact the RSPCA, in complete confidence, on 0300 1234 999.

Georgie the cat who was shot with an airgun - Hanson Lane, Lockwood.

In unrelated investigations, police would like to speak to the people pictured in the image gallery below. The people pictured in the images may be witnesses as well as suspects. If you recognise anyone, contact police on 101 quoting the reference number on the image caption.