A WIGAN vet wants greater control of air guns after a horror attack on a pet.
Salem, a two-year-old long haired domestic black cat, will carry the pellet for the rest of his life.
A series of X-rays have revealed that the position of the pellet makes surgery too dangerous to contemplate.
But experts at Anrich Veterinary Hospital say the cat is actually lucky to be alive.
Only a split second turn of the head prevented the bullet smashing into his brain.
Close inspection while under anaesthetic showed the projectile brushed past his eye before lodging in his shoulder. Salem is now making a strong recovery from the trauma.
But it was hardly the warmest of welcomes for the friendly Tom, who has only recently moved to the town with his family.
Now Dr Shams Mir, who successfully treated him, has now hit out at the callous gunman.
He is sure the pet was deliberately targeted.
And hopes that parents can be shocked and persuaded by highlighting incidents such as the shooting of Salem, to exert more influence and guidance if they buy teenagers powerful air rifles and pistols. Dr Mir said: “Its very worrying to contemplate what the gun, used to shoot at Salem, is going to target next.
“The pellet is likely to stay there for rest of his life, but will hopefully cause no problems.
“It appears that the gun was aimed at Salem’s forehead.
“Out of sheer luck he seems to have moved the head to his left in that millisecond allowing the pellet to brush past his eyelid into the shoulder joint area.
“Salem was lucky. He escaped the bullet going into his head, eye, lungs or even heart.
“He survived using many of his nine lives on the way.
“Salem’s suffering is not only a sad story of sheer callousness towards animals but also telltale symptomatic of lack of respect for life.”
The cat’s owners noticed he was injured when he came home after being missing for a day.
When taken to Anrich for examination Dr Mir found the cat was clearly in pain being handled and lame on his right fore leg.
It was then that he was X-rayed to reveal a deep seated airgun pellet lodged adjacent to the right shoulder joint.
The pellet could not be removed without damaging nerves.