AN X-ray has dramatically shown how close a cat came to being paralysed by a gun thug.
And the vet who saved its life warned that serial killers always start by being cruel to animals.
Two cats - both belonging to the same Honley woman - were shot by the attacker.
Honley vet Andy Jennings removed a .22 pellet from one of them.
But the other cat had a pellet lodged so close to her spine it was too dangerous to try to remove it.
The cats belong to Mrs Lynne Pogson who lives in Mullion Avenue, Honley.
The cats - Domino and Bagheera - were both shot in their right hind legs by a high velocity air rifle.
Mrs Pogson said children play in the area and could easily have been shot too.
Mr Jennings said: "It was just a mindless attack. I can't understand why anyone should feel the need to shoot cats.
"The pellet was lodged right next to Bagheera's spine.
"There was a risk of damage to the spine or serious nerve damage if I did much cutting."
He said it was hoped the pellet would remain lodged where it was, but there is a danger that in time it could move.
"Bagheera could get the occasional twinge from it," he said.
"If the pellet did move it could mean she would not be able to use her hind leg properly."
And he had worrying news for the people of Honley.
"I read an RSPCA publication a few years ago and it said that, without exception, all serial killers had started their criminality by being cruel to animals," he said.
The police are treating the shootings as animal cruelty and criminal damage.
Anyone with information should phone Pc Michelle Jaques on 01484 436789 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.