A PET kitten had to have its eye removed after being 'cruelly' shot with an air rifle.

Thames Valley Police is investigating after the animal was hurt in Chadlington, near Chipping Norton.

Officers believe it happened either on Monday or Tuesday, but did not specify the location. 

In a witness appeal this morning, police said: "The poor cat has been cruelly shot with an air rifle and would have been in a considerable amount of pain.

"It was a shock for the owners to find their pet with facial injuries."

ALSO READ: Cat shot with air rifle makes 'miraculous' recovery at vets

In a post on the Chadlington Community Notice Board on Monday, the owner said the kitten is nine months old and the vet had to remove her eye.

She added: "When they operated they found a 22 caliber air rifle pellet behind her eye. Someone had shot her.

"She will have been suffering [immense] pain as her eye had ruptured.

"She may lose the sight in both eyes as the optical nerve in cats is joined for both eyes. She also has a skull fracture.

"I want to warn cat owners to be vigilant and ask if anyone knows who may have been out shooting last night or early this morning to pass on that information."

Anyone with information can call police on 101, quoting reference 961 of 14/1/20.

In 2018, the RSPCA received 767 reports of animals being shot by air rifles in England and Wales.

Pet cats were the most common target, with 258 incidents recorded, while pigeons were also frequently injured, with 112 incidents reported.

In 2016, residents in Carterton got in touch with the Oxford Mail after the sixth cat from the same road was shot.