A St. James woman is warning others to keep their pets inside after her cat was shot with a pellet gun on Tuesday.
Rachel Ashley said she was shocked when she came home Tuesday afternoon to find her cat, Nemo, in distress.
"He was lying on the bed upstairs, so I usually go and hug him and say hello, and he started howling at me," Ashley told CBC News. "He was just not happy, and when he turned around I saw blood on his leg."
Ashley took Nemo to the vet for what she thought was a bite from a dog or another cat. Closer examination revealed only a single puncture wound instead of two, and a lump on a hind leg.
An X-ray clearly showed a small object under Nemo's skin.
"That's where they found the pellet …," Ashley said.
Having the vet remove the pea-sized pellet, which Ashley identified as .177 calibre, cost the college student about $600.
While Nemo is recovering, Ashley posted the cat's ordeal on social media in hopes of finding who was responsible. She said police were sympathetic, but couldn't do much without more information.
A spokesperson for the Winnipeg Police Service confirmed they had received a report about the cat being shot with a pellet gun, but add police had fielded no other animal calls in the past week.
Ashley said she received some backlash online for allowing her cats to roam the neighbourhood.
"Once your cats get the smell of the outdoors and they love it, there's not much you can do. They sneak out," Ashley said. "You can blame me as a pet owner if you wish, but, personally, I'm blaming the disgusting person who shot an innocent cat."
Ashley's family is doing their best to keep her cats indoors for now. She said others have told her similar stories and she's worried someone may be targeting animals near Overdale, the street she lives on.
"People who commented on the post online — there was a lady a street over from me and she said [there was] the same entrance wound on her cat. So she's decided to go to the vet today to get that checked out."
Ashley said she was also told by a man a dog had been shot 12 times with a pellet gun recently near Sturgeon Heights Collegiate, and that he saw kids walking around with a pellet gun.
"Whoever did this, I hope they felt an immense amount of shame. I hope they step forward," Ashley said, adding:
"We learned a very expensive lesson. Just keep [your pets] inside."