Worried staff at Withy Grove Veterinary Surgery in Bamber Bridge called police after two-year-old ginger tom Garfield was taken in with a shattered right shoulder and gaping wounds.
Vet Amanda Skinner said she’d never seen an injury like it,and first thought he could have been caused by a shotgun because of the vast quantity of shrapnel inside his body.
Officers took samples away for testing and now believe injuries may have been caused by shrapnel from a firework rather than a weapon.
Garfield’s owner, Tulsa Craythorne, of Longacre, Clayton Brook, believes it was a targeted attack on her cat, though the police say investigations are still ongoing.
She said: “He went missing for a few days, and then somehow managed to somehow drag himself back home.
“When I saw him, he was a mess. The wound was really deep, with maggots in it, and I didn’t think he’d survive.
“I’m absolutely outraged that someone has done this to my cat, he’s my baby.
“He doesn’t even go far, so I’m worried it’s someone nearby that’s done it.
“There’s no way any of my pets are leaving the house again, I can’t risk it – and Garfield’s definitely used up his nine lives.”
Vet Mrs Skinner said: “We were presented with a cat with a huge, huge wound on the front of his elbow, about two inches across, and several other smaller wounds around his shoulder.
“When we x-rayed him, we found the area was peppered with shrapnel. I’ve never seen an injury like it, it’s very, very unusual.
“The police have told me they think the injury has come from a firework, and although I wouldn’t rule it out, it’s not the sort of injury I’d expect from something like that.
“He didn’t have any burn marks on him at all – none around the wound or around his lower legs.”
She added: “It’s unlikely that this injury has happened by accident, and it’s very worrying that there could be someone out there firing fireworks at cats.”
Garfield’s injury was so severe that Mrs Skinner had to amputate his leg from the shoulder, including taking an inch of shoulder blade away. His condition is still considered life threatening because of the risk of infection.
Ms Craythorne has racked up a bill of £550 at the surgery so far, on top of £150 for treatment at another vets, and she is struggling to cope with costs.
She said: “It was worth every penny, because it’s saved Garfield’s life and I’m so grateful to the staff at Withy Grove, but it’s a lot of money.
“I’m desperately trying to get my hands on some money though, I’m out of my depth and I’m looking for anyone who can make a donation to the vets for me.”
A police spokesman confirmed that an investigation is underway and firearms experts has ruled out the injury being caused by a gun.
He added: “We will act on any new information which comes in but there aren’t any further lines of inquiry at the moment.”