Vets in Abu Dhabi removed an air gun bullet from a pet abandoned on the streets.
One-year-old Winter was brought to The British Veterinary Centre in Al Khalidiya earlier this year with matted fur.
The fluffy white Persian was friendly and had clearly been a pet, staff members said.
They began to socialise the cat to prepare him for the clinic’s adoption programme.
It was then they noticed a lump on his neck.
“I was petting him one day and I noticed something,” said Jennifer Hale, an administrative partner at the clinic.
“He had been terribly matted before, and what we had taken for a mat close to the skin turned out to be a very hard lump.”
“There was no wound. We just felt a hard structure on his neck,” said head vet Dr Nicolas Terraz.
“And it was very hard, so I was a bit suspicious it could be a pellet. We then x-rayed it and saw clearly it was a metallic structure which looked like a pellet from a BB gun or something like that.
“The pellet had been there for a while and the body had healed over it. So there was no actual wound, just a pellet we found under the skin.”
Dr Terraz operated on Winter to remove the pellet just over a month ago. The cat has since been rehomed.
Winter’s injury was discovered around the same time rescuers found the body of a cat killed by an air gun wound to the shoulder.
It was found in bushes on Abu Dhabi's Corniche.
Dr Terraz said although he was concerned about Winter’s wound, he had seen fewer cases of animal abuse recently.
“We saw more abuse cases before, especially with exotic animals,” he said.
“So things are definitely moving in the right direction. But I guess this is a reminder that those things are still happening, unfortunately.”
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 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.