A mum had the awful task of explaining to her children that their cat had died after being shot close to their York home.
Caroline Barratt was left with the heartbreaking duty of telling Dylan, eight, and Alice, 11, what happened after someone attacked their cat Georgie with an air rifle.
“You don’t think you’re going to have to explain behaviour like that to your kids,” she told YorkMix.
A significant reward is being offered for any information leading to a conviction of the person responsible.
The number for the RSPCA to report any information is 0300 123 4999 and the police is 101.
Georgie and her sister Fraise were rescue cats. They were about six months old when Caroline brought them home.
That was about a year ago. When the family moved to Lime Avenue in Heworth last September the cats quickly settled in.
“They were out and about the whole time. They don’t go far.”
Then on Saturday afternoon (April 29) Georgie managed to get herself back home but it was obvious something was very wrong.
“She was howling, bleeding and vomiting, and foaming at the mouth. We thought she’d been in a fight with another cat because she just had a wound on her leg.
“She deteriorated during the night, and I thought she was just suffering from shock.
“I realised she was getting colder and could see her blood pressure was going down so I took her to the vet’s.
“When they X-rayed her they could see the airgun pellet in her really clearly.”
It had entered through Georgie’s leg and lodged in her abdomen. There was little that could be done to save her as it had caused internal bleeding.
She died in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“It’s really upsetting. The children are absolutely devastated,” Caroline said.
I made the decision to tell them what had happened rather than hide it from them. But that’s quite a hard thing to explain, that there are human beings who are deliberately cruel to animals.
What makes it worse is that the culprit is likely to live nearby.
“One of my neighbours said that five years ago another cat was shot just three doors down from me. That cat survived.
“I feel a bit unnerved that there’s someone close who did this, because Georgie didn’t go far – and she managed to make it home.”
Caroline is going to report the incident to police. The vet has already contacted the RSPCA and given them the airgun pellet.
She has done a leaflet drop to houses in and around her street to let local families know what has happened and warn them to be alert. There are about 20 cats on her street alone.
And she’s let people know in the Missing Cats In York Facebook group.
Georgie’s sister Fraise “will be pretty bereft without her as they spent the whole time together. And they’d already been abandoned once when we got them. It’s just really sad.”
Caroline urged anyone who knew of someone with that sort of weapon in the area to contact the RSPCA and the police.
And she asked that people sign the Cats Protection petition asking for for England and Wales to follow Ireland and Scotland in enforcing licensing for air gun owners.
This is not the only recent example of cruelty to cats in York. Another poster on the Missing Cats Facebook group said that his friend’s cat from Fulford