An animal lover is warning other pet owners as her cat is set to have a leg amputated after being shot with an air rifle.

Wendy Scriven and her family were desperately worried about five-year-old Cefa when it went missing last Tuesday.

It returned home to Hampton Mead in Loughton on Thursday, but Cefa’a leg was badly injured and she was taken to the vets.

Mrs Scriven, 45, said she was horrified when she was told what had happened.

“We thought she had been run over, she couldn’t stand on her back leg,” she said.

“It was only when we took her to the vets that they told us that she had been hit with an airgun pellet.

“It’s just awful. How could anybody do that to an animal?”

After assessing the damage, the vet decided the injury was so bad Cefa’s leg would have to be amputated.

Mrs Scriven has now informed the police.

She said: “It is just so cruel. My kids are all heartbroken. Who would do this to an animal?

“The police have made a note of it but I think people need to be told that this is happening in Loughton.”

Cefa remains at the vets and is likely to return home next week.