AN Irish GP has voiced concern for animal welfare after finding out her beloved pet cat had “horrifying” injuries.
The discovery was made after the pet was brought to the vet last month after it was showing signs of distress and discomfort.
Monaghan doctor Illona Duffy said she was “shocked” and “deeply concerned” after an x-ray showed her cat Norbert had been blasted with metal pellets.
She told the Irish Sun: “We noticed about two weeks ago that Norbert seemed to be having a problem with her tail and back muscles going into spasm.
“She was really quite distressed that the tail was spasming, it was biting it and it was harming itself.
“We went to the vet, who examined him but couldn’t see any obvious damage, no signs of fractures or fighting. So Norbert was put on antibiotics, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, neuropathic pain killers, so really high dose stuff.
“The cat was obviously quite distressed and there was no improvement so the vet said he would sedate the cat to x-ray the back and the tail. That’s when the vet rang in shock to say it wasn’t a fracture at all, but their pieces of metal in the cat.
“One was really quite close to the spine, which the vet was unable to get out.
“There was another deep in the muscle that was causing a lot of pain and stress, so they put the cat under general anaesthetic to remove it. So there are still bits of metal there, and our cat has quite a deep incision.
“But what this shows is that somebody deliberately shot our cat, which is fairly horrific to think about.”
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Illona, who lives in Monaghan town, said she remains worried about what is next for her feline friend as the shards that were unable to be removed are still causing issues for the animal.
She explained: “The cat is still in pain because it’s trying to chew on its tail and that’s probably because of a fragment of metal pellet in the tail. So it’s still causing huge distress.
“It’s awful to see the poor cat like that, chewing the end of the tail and causing it to bleed.
“So we’re not sure what’s next because the vet doesn’t feel that any more metal can be removed safely.
“My kids are all in their teens and it’s really upsetting for them to see the cat in such distress at times.”
The Monaghan mum said the incident has been reported to her local garda station.
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She also added that she would not be surprised if such incidents had happened to other animals and wanted to highlight the dangers to other pet owners.
She said: “We haven’t heard of similar incidents before this, but it could have happened before. We wouldn’t have known obviously because with a penetrative wound from a gun you wouldn’t see it due to the cat’s hair. Similarly, with other animals, it could be the very same.
“These pellets harm, not necessarily kill, but they do great harm. We want to highlight and make people aware that this has happened, and if it has happened once it has probably happened before, and may happen again. Because this wasn’t a single shooting. Somebody obviously cornered the cat and hit it a few times.”
She added: “Norbert doesn’t tend to wander that far, she tends to stay local. So it’s really awful to think that somebody in our locality, a small town like Monaghan, would be at this kind of behaviour and shooting helpless animals.
“The big thing for me is why do people have these guns in the first place. We all have a responsibility as parents if we know kids have them, as adults, if we have them, what are we doing with them and why do we have them.
“And definitely to ensure that they’re safeguarded and that whoever has them is using them appropriately and not on helpless animals.”