Edmonton

Cat survives being shot in chest, has injured leg amputated

At first glance, the friendly feline seemed fine. But it didn’t take long for staff at Mission Ridge Animal Hospital to notice the gaping hole in the cat's chest. He had been shot.

Mission Ridge Animal Hospital looking for home for three-legged cat

Feline is recovering after being shot in the chest 1:45

At first glance, the friendly feline seemed fine.

But staff at Mission Ridge Animal Hospital in St. Albert soon noticed a gaping hole in the cat's chest.

He had been shot.

"It was very disturbing," clinic manager Debra Briton said. "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 sitting on their deck in their Sturgeon County neighbourhood when the three-year-old ginger tabby limped up to them.

"Your mind kind of goes to, 'Is some sick person injuring these animals for fun?'- Jordan Schulz

"It was somebody's pet because he was super, super friendly. He was used to people and not shy at all," Schulz said. "Even though he should have been in distress, in pain, he was affectionate and nice."

The couple brought the cat, which had a contorted right front leg, to Mission Ridge on June 20.

X-rays showed bullet fragments mixed with pieces of shattered bone.  

Briton said it looks like the bullet went in through the cat's chest before hitting its leg.

When they took out the metal fragments, they realized the bullet had been copper-tipped — the variety usually used for hunting small animals.

Gunther, a friendly three-year-old ginger tabby shot in the chest, recovers from surgery after having his front leg amputated. (CBC/Rick Bremness)

Schulz said this isn't the first time something like this has happened in the couple's neighbourhood. A neighbour's dogs went missing a few months ago.

"They found one a few days later and it had been shot," Schulz said, adding that pellets meant for birds were lodged in the dog's face.

The couple has four of their own cats. One came home a few weeks ago with a wound on his neck.

Schulz understands that sometimes farmers might have to kill wild animals 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 a report about the cat that Schulz and his wife found. She also called the RCMP, but said she didn't hear back.

The cat — Mission Ridge staff have named him Gunther — had his leg amputated. He's 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 he needs to rest.  

"He just touched all of hearts," Briton said. "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 $150.

An X-ray revealed bullet fragments in the cat's broken leg. (CBC/Rick Bremness)