The shooting of a pet cat on the Kāpiti Coast would've caused "unnecessary abuse and cruelty", the SPCA says, with an investigation now underway.
Jamie, a fluffy five-year-old ginger tom, is still recovering from the ordeal in Waikanae, a town around an hour's drive north of Wellington.
Last Wednesday morning, his owners found Jamie bloody and with injuries to his face. They took him to the vet, thinking he'd been in a fight with another cat.
Instead, the vet discovered Jamie had been shot.
An X-ray shows bullet fragments scattered throughout the cat's skull.
Owner Lulu was horrified and angry at the shooting, now fearing for the safety of her other pets as well.
"Jamie is quite well looked after and is beautifully groomed, it's obvious that he's not a feral stray," she told 1 NEWS
"I'm just very shocked that somebody could do that, discharging a weapon at somebody's pet."
Jamie's back at home and recovering, but Lulu says he's "not doing too well".
"Unfortunately it looks like he's lost his hearing, he's not hearing at all," she says.
"[The injury was] just underneath his eye, and the eye is not reacting properly to light either ... They're worried about his eyesight as well."
Now the SPCA is trying to find out exactly what happened to Jamie.
"Cats can feel pain and it is hard to imagine the suffering Jamie would have endured," Wellington inspector team lead Ben Lakomy says.
"He has suffered unnecessary abuse and cruelty, and we urge anyone with more information to please contact us."
While he's not aware of similar incidents in the area recently, Lakomy says it's not unheard of for them to find pet cats that have been shot.
"Sadly, cats are becoming more common shooting targets and SPCA can receive a few cases like this each year around the country," he says.
"We’ve seen cats shot by air rifles and crossbows in the past. We want to remind people that shooting an animal and causing it suffering in this way is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1999."
Lulu wants the culprit to know people are on the look-out.
"If they get caught they're going to get in big trouble, so hopefully that would prevent them from doing it again," she says.
"People are aware of what's happening and the culprit knows it, other people know, there's a possibility somebody might see or hear or know what's happening."
Anyone with information is urged to contact the SPCA confidentially on 0800 467 732, quoting reference 323422.