A stray cat in Oshawa, Ont., will require surgery after being shot 16 times in an animal cruelty case one veterinarian describes as "heartbreaking."

Veterinarians say Matty — a five-year old male tabby — suffered a broken leg and is expected to recover. A full-body X-ray of the cat shows multiple pellets, clearly visible as small dots, embedded all over Matty's body including his head, abdomen and feet.

The Humane Society of Durham Region was called after a report of a stray cat in the Thornton and Champlain Road area. What they found was far more disturbing.

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An X-ray shows Matty's body riddled with BBs. He suffered a broken leg and will be adopted after his recovery. (CBC)

"It was heartbreaking to think that somebody could just sit there and take pot shots on a cat," said veterinarian Phil Nichols.

"It's not just like one or two [shots] … somebody shot for a while. To cause that kind of damage, [the shooter] would have had to have been pretty close to fracture the bone the way it did."

The Ontario Society for the Protection and Care of Animals is investigating.

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Matty was shot 16 times with a BB gun. Vets have told CBC the cat was likely shot at close range. (CBC)

The humane society says once Matty has recovered, he will be put up for adoption.

With files from CBC's Natalie Kalata