A cat which was shot with an air rifle on the Isle of Wight is recovering well at the RSPCA after undergoing surgery.

The feline, named Zuleika, came into the care of the Island’s RSPCA branch in Godshill as a stray, where it was initially suspected she was pregnant.

In the RSPCA’s care, she underwent a microchip check, which resulted in no microchip.

The team also gave Zuleika an initial health check, where it was confirmed she was not pregnant despite suffering discomfort with a large lump on her stomach.

Isle of Wight County Press: Zuleika in the care of the RSPCAZuleika in the care of the RSPCA (Image: IW RSPCA)

RSPCA staff rushed her to the local vets, where it was suspected that the lump could be a tumour.

On January 21, Zuleika was admitted to the veterinary clinic to undergo surgery on the lump.

During the surgery, the veterinary team were shocked to discover the true source of Zuleika’s agony – a hidden air rifle pellet lodged in her body.

Isle of Wight County Press: The pellet found inside ZuleikaThe pellet found inside Zuleika (Image: IW RSPCA)

A spokesperson from IW RSPCA said: “This heart-wrenching incident serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for compassion, empathy and a collective action to protect those who cannot speak for themselves.

“It is our shared responsibility as an organisation and a local community to create and live in a world where all animals are respected and treated with kindness and compassion.”

Despite the hardships Zuleika has suffered, she is now rid of the pellet and is receiving plenty of love and care from the RSPCA staff.