Calls for tighter air rifle regulations as injured cat saved by Mayhew staff

PUBLISHED: 08:21 13 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:49 13 April 2018

Sorcha with an air rifle pellet embedded under her skin (Picture: Mayhew)

Sorcha with an air rifle pellet embedded under her skin (Picture: Mayhew)


Animal charity workers in Kensal Green are calling for tighter air rifle regulations after an abandoned stray cat was shot.

The aiir rifle pellet (Picture: Mayhew)The aiir rifle pellet (Picture: Mayhew)

Sorcha, a one-year-old feline, was discovered with an air gun pellet lodged near her spine by outreach teams from Mayhew in Trenmar Gardens.

She’d been living as part of a feral colony near Hendon and was picked up by staff doing rounds of their ‘trap, neuter, return’ (TNR) initiative.

Emily Richardson, a Mayhew vet, said: “When Sorcha first arrived she was very dirty and had a lump on her back near her spine.

“We removed the mass under general anaesthetic and discovered it was in fact an air gun pellet.

Sorcha with an air rifle pellet embedded under her skin (Picture: Mayhew)Sorcha with an air rifle pellet embedded under her skin (Picture: Mayhew)

“She did not seem to be in pain and there was no skin damage, so the metal pellet must have been there for a while. Thankfully it hadn’t caused any serious damage.

“Apart from having to remove the pellet, Sorcha was in a good overall condition and she had no other health concerns.

“She was treated with anti-parasite treatment and later neutered and vaccinated.”

The charity’s TNR programme for feral cats across London helps to control and contain the cat population.

Cat welfare coordinator, Georgina Disney, explained: “We will trap the cats on location to bring them back to Mayhew for neutering and health checks. We will then re-release the neutered adult cats back to their colony, providing the area is suitable and safe for them.”

Initially fearful of humans, the vet team discovered she was not a feral feline but a domesticated pet that had been abandoned. She is now looking to be adopted.

Zoe Edwards, Mayhew’s head of animal welfare, said: “The volume of instances where cats have been killed or injured by air guns is very concerning. We believe that a much stricter regulation on the ownership of air guns needs to be put in place to help protect cats and other animals from these attacks.

“We hope that any future regulation of air guns will better protect animals and communities.”

Mayhew provides low-cost neutering at their Community Vet Clinic and offer a free Pick and Snip service to help and encourage people who have been unable to neuter their cat due to cost, disability, apathy or transport availability.

To find out more about their services or to make a donation go to

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