TWO families have spoken of their horror after their cats were shot with an air rifle and seriously injured.

Basil, an 18-month-old cat, was left partially blind but was lucky to survive after being shot in his right eye near his home in Tudhoe Village, near Spennymoor, County Durham, at about 6pm on Sunday.

The shooting with a .22 gauge air rifle occurred about four hours after Winnie, a six-year-old tortoiseshell, was shot in the chest in Bessemer Street, Ferryhill.

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James and Helen Arnott were showing a friend around their home in Tudhoe when they saw Basil at the kitchen door with blood pouring from his eye socket.

Mr Arnott, a 29-year-old airline pilot, said: “It was like something out of a horror movie, there was just blood and gore where his eye had been.

“I don’t know how he managed to get home, he was in complete shock and must have been in a lot of pain.”

Mr Arnott said he and his pregnant wife, a 31-year-old flight stewardess, drove to an emergency vet in Tyneside where Basil underwent surgery.

He said: “They removed his eye but couldn’t get the pellet out of his jaw bone for fear of doing more damage.

“A millimetre either way and he would have been dead.

“It was a clean shot through the eye, which makes me think someone was aiming for that.”

Winnie’s owner Stephen Black said she was a much loved pet, especially to his ten-year-old son Cameron.

He said: “She’s an affectionate and friendly cat, so for some toe rag to go and shoot her just for the hell of it is despicable.”

Winnie was shot in the chest and Mr Black said he believed the yob had been aiming for her head.

Spennymoor neighbourhood inspector Bill Bentham said the shootings were “extremely unusual” and urged anyone with information to come forward.

He said: “If anybody is going to pick on an undefended animal we will target and prosecute them.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Spennymoor police station on 0345-60-60-365 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.