A CAT has made a 'miraculous' recovery after being shot with an air gun pellet which tore through almost all of his major abdominal organs.

Four-year-old Poppet was attacked by an unknown assailant near his home in the northern area of Eynsham village in January.

The pellet from the rifle penetrated his abdomen, tore through the diaphragm and nicked the pancreas as well as the spleen.

It then scratched the small intestine in two locations before logging itself in some excrement inside the colon.

The cat was treated by vets at the Beaumont Veterinary Group's Botley branch, who felt that his chances of survival were slim.

Vet Greg Critien, assisted by Angelina Van Sprundel, performed complex surgery to remove the pellet before attempting to repair Poppet's internal injuries.

Despite the odds being stacked against him, the cat has now been returned to health and was signed off last week.

Vets described the recovery following surgery as 'miraculous.'

Diana Kennedy, of Beaumont Veterinary Group, said: “Thankfully we don’t see this sort of incident very often which makes it all the more shocking when we do.

"In this case it was great to see Poppet make a recovery, even if he has used up one of his nine lives, but he was very lucky to survive.

"It raises an important issue that there are still people out there who, for whatever reason, are trying to harm other’s pets.

"Why anyone would want to do this, we can't imagine.

“This is somebody’s much-loved animal that somebody else is trying to kill.

“It is obviously very upsetting for the owners to see this sort of thing occur - cats are often treated as a member of the family and it's like someone very close to you being attacked.

“All of us are working day in, day out to try and help animals and then something like this happens - none of us can understand why."

Charities including the RSPCA and Cats Protection have led calls in recent years to change the law on air gun ownership to protect animals.

They want to see licenses introduced for anyone wanting to own one of the weapons, similar the rules introduced in Scotland last year.

Some 42 incidents were reported in total in Oxfordshire over the past five years.

Nationwide, the RSPCA deal with around 900 calls on average every year involving cases of people using air guns against animals.

The charity will team up with the British Association for Shooting & Conservation to stage a joint conference this spring to identify solutions to the problem.