A FAMILY has been left devastated as their pet cat’s life hangs in the balance after he was shot with 50 pellets just yards from their home.

Quentin Brittain and Angela Linton now face the agonising wait to find out if the shots that litter their 18- month-old cat Felix are lead – which could prove fatal.

They have been told by a vet that there are too many pellets to be surgically removed from the black and white pet and Felix must be kept in a cage for the next six weeks to see if the shots work themselves out.

Vet bills have already run up to £250, and the family – who have no pet insurance – believe this could treble over the course of the treatment.

The attack happened just 160 yards from their home in Chilbolton Down Farm, where the family pet often wanders around and plays with the local children.

They also believe that a broken tail was caused by someone picking up Felix and swinging him.

Mr Brittain – who also owns a tabby cat and a dog – has offered a £500 cash reward for information which leads to the conviction of whoever is responsible for the assault.

He has spoken to a shotgun expert, who believes that the cat would have been shot from just 30-35 metres away.

Mr Brittain said that on Thursday, 26 June, Felix was wandering around the farm when a neighbour heard a very loud gun shot.

The cat returned home in the early hours of Friday, 27 June.

Mr Brittain said: “We noticed he was dragging his rear right leg. It was very painful when we touched it – he was hissing and scratching which he would never do as he is a family cat.”

Over the weekend, Felix became a lot worse and the family took him to Hawksdown Vets, in Stockbridge, and on Monday he had an Xray, which discovered the 50 shots peppered across the right-hand side of his body.

A police spokeswoman said: “The victim stated that some time on 26 or 27 June their 18- month-old cat was shot with a pellet gun.

“Anyone with information should contact Stockbridge Safer Neighbourhoods team by calling 101.”