Vets in Abu Dhabi have operated to remove an air gun pellet from a stray cat, in the second such case in as many months.
Oscar, a one-year-old Arabian Mau, was brought in by rescuers to be treated for feline infectious peritonitis, a serious viral disease in cats, after being found on streets skinny, weak and unwell.
Wayne Cutting, the man who rescued Oscar from Mina Port, discovered a lump on his side, prompting vets at Abu Dhabi's British Veterinary Clinic to run tests.
“We thought it was a tumour,” said Dr Ahmad Jakish, a vet at the clinic.
“So I tried to do a fine needle aspiration but when I put the needle in, it made the tip of the needle bend because it was metallic.”
An X-ray revealed it was an air gun pellet.
They decided not to operate at the time as it posed no immediate danger to Oscar, and waited two months until the cat had recovered from his illness.
They removed the pellet this month, only weeks after performing a similar operation on a stray Persian cat called Winter, who has been rehomed.
Oscar is also being prepared for adoption, said Mr Cutting, a South African who has lived in the capital for eight years.
He said Oscar would make a good pet.
“He’s very quirky. He will sit there and pop up and walk around and make little grunting noises,” Mr Cutting said.
Oscar was found in the same area where several cats’ bodies were discovered in Mina.
Mr Cutting and other rescuers who were feeding cats in the area assumed they had been poisoned.
“Then when we realised Oscar had been shot, it seemed far more plausible that they had also been shot,” he said.
Vets say they have seen fewer cases of animal abuse recently, despite the spate of air gun shootings.
They urged people to report any incidents to authorities.
The UAE has strict laws governing animal abuse.
Anyone caught abusing or illegally hunting, buying or selling animals faces a fine of up to Dh200,000 ($54,448) and a one-year prison term under Federal Law 18, issued in 2016.
Cases of animal cruelty can be reported via the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment portal.