THE SCOTTISH SPCA is appealing for information after a third cat was shot in Falkirk in less than a year.

The animal welfare group was alerted to the most recent incident on May 14, when Mr Alan Smith’s cat Rhea was rushed to the vet.

That was the second time one of his animals was targeted within one year, as his other cat Oreo was shot with an air rifle in June 2018.

Mr Smith said: “My wife and I are absolutely distraught. 

“Rhea is touch and go at the moment.  She’s had emergency surgery to remove part of her gut where the pellet went through and there’s risk of infection.

“The vets are concerned the pellet went through to her bowel. Because of the nature of the wound, the vet thinks she was shot at close range.

“This is the second time this has happened to us and it’s hard not to think we are being targeted. It’s devastating.

“She is a lovely cat and wouldn’t bother anyone. She doesn’t deserve to be going through this.”

Andrew Grey, a Scottish SPCA inspector, said: “We are incredibly concerned for Rhea and cannot imagine what the Smiths are going through.

“This is the second time the family have gone through this, and the third cat within a two-mile radius since last June to have suffered an injury from an airgun.

“We are concerned this person or persons is going to commit more crimes against animals.

“This was a deliberate and incredibly cruel attempt to wound, or kill, Rhea. The person must be caught before they do this again.

“We are working closely with Police Scotland due to the nature of this criminal act. Anyone with information should contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999 or Police Scotland on 101.”