EDMONTON, CANADA – At very first glance, the friendly feline seemed fine.
However, staff at Mission Ridge Animal Hospital in St. Albert soon noticed a gaping hole in the cat’s chest.
This poor baby had been shot.
“It was very disturbing,” clinic manager Debra Briton declared. “It’s very upsetting to think that someone would want to injure a cat that way. Obviously, they meant business.”
Jordan Schulz and his wife were just sitting out on their deck in their Sturgeon County neighbourhood when the three-year-old ginger tabby limped up to them.
“It was somebody’s pet because he was super, super friendly. He was used to people and not shy at all,” Schulz explained. “Even though he should have been in distress, in pain, he was affectionate and nice.”
The couple immediately brought the cat, which had a contorted right front leg, to Mission Ridge on June 20.
X-rays showed fragments of a bullet mixed with pieces of shattered bone.
Briton explained that it looks like the bullet went in through the cat’s chest before hitting its leg.
When they took out the metal fragments, they then realized the bullet had been copper-tipped — the variety which is usually used for hunting small animals.
Schulz stated this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in the couple’s neighbourhood. A neighbor’s dogs also went missing a few months ago.
“They found one a few days later and it had been shot,” Schulz explained, adding that pellets meant for birds were lodged in the dog’s face.
The couple currently has four of their own cats. One came home a few weeks ago with a wound on his neck.
Schulz understands that sometimes farmers may have to kill wild animals who are threatening their crops or livestock, but that “domestic animals aren’t doing any harm to anyone” — especially not in an estate area.
“Your mind kind of goes to, ‘Is some sick person injuring these animals for fun?’ ”
Briton contacted the Alberta SPCA and filed an official report about the cat that Schulz and his wife found. She also called the RCMP, but said she didn’t hear back.
The cat, who the Mission Ridge staff have recently named him Gunther — had his leg amputated. He’s currently on painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, but still in good spirits.
Gunther gets what Briton calls “cage crazy,” so staff take turns playing with him until it’s time for him to rest.
“He just touched all of hearts,” Briton stated. “Considering what’s he’s been through, the traumatic injury, just his attitude, he is so loving and so affectionate and we really would love to give him a second chance and find a home that’s going to love him and take care of him.”
The clinic’s adoption fee is set at $150.