Owners 'distraught' after pet cat Rhea shot in stomach
Three cats have now been shot within a two-mile radius in the Falkirk area in last year.
A pet cat has been shot in the stomach from close range.
Rhea has undergone emergency surgery to remove part of her gut and is now fighting for her life.
Her owners believe they are being targeted after their other cat was also injured by an air rifle.
She is now the third cat shot within a two-mile radius in Falkirk in less than a year.
The Scottish SPCA believe the shooter will commit more crimes against animals and want to catch them before they strike again.
Following the attack on Tuesday, Rhea's owner Alan Smith said: "My wife and I are absolutely distraught.
"Rhea is touch and go at the moment. She has had emergency surgery to remove part of her gut where the pellet went through and there is 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."
In June 2018, the couple's other cat Oreo was also shot.
Mr Smith added: "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."
Scotland's animal welfare charity is now investigating the cruel attack and is appealing for anyone with information to report it.
Scottish SPCA inspector Andrew Gray said: "We are incredibly concerned for Rhea and cannot imagine what the Smiths are going through.
"Rhea is still receiving emergency treatment and we hope she pulls 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 injuries from an air gun.
"We are concerned this person or persons is going to commit more crimes against animals.
"Owning an air rifle without a license has been illegal since December 2016, this is a move we welcomed due to incidents such as this.
"This was a deliberate and incredibly cruel attempt to wound, or kill, Rhea. The person must be caught before they do this again."
'This was a deliberate and incredibly cruel attempt to wound, or kill, Rhea. The person must be caught before they do this again.'Scottish SPCA inspector Andrew Gray
The Scottish SPCA are now working closely with Police Scotland due to the nature of the act.
If you have any information, call 101 or the Scottish SPCA's confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.