Page last updated at 06:57 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 07:57 UK

Cat shot in crossbow bolt attack

Cat X-ray
The bolt was millimetres away from damaging the cat's kidneys.

A cat is recovering after narrowly avoiding death when it was shot with a crossbow on Teesside.

X-ray images show how Smokey was speared by an 8in (20cm) crossbow bolt in Hartlepool. Vets said the bolt just missed vital organs.

Owner Carole Ashworth noticed he had been wounded when she found lumps near his spine while brushing his fur.

Veterinary charity PDSA said it was worried about a growing spate of crossbow attacks on pets in the area.

Ms Ashworth said: "I was brushing his fur when I felt some lumps and noticed something sticking out of his tummy.

"I tried to pull the object out without success and that was when I realised he had been shot.

"I really thought Smokey was going to die and I couldn't bear the thought of losing him after nearly 11 years."

Veterinary surgeon Rosalind Turner said the sharp point of the bolt was just millimetres away from causing permanent damage to the cat's kidneys.

She said: "Smokey's injuries could have proved fatal and one of the worst cases I have seen. He is extremely lucky."

A Cleveland Police spokesman confirmed there had been other similar incidents in the Hartlepool area recently.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific