Concerned cat owners are on high alert after a cat was shot in a residential suburb of Blenheim last week, following years of cat attacks and bizarre disappearances in the area.
Bettina Fratucelli said her cat Poura was shot "in the middle of the day" in Redwoodtown last Thursday. He "limped" back home on Friday morning.
"He's lucky he survived, otherwise he would have just been another cat that disappeared and no-one would have known what happened," Fratucelli said.
Fratucelli said Poura was not the first cat to be attacked in the area. She said her neighbours had lost two cats this year, and another cat owned by Fratucelli, called Puss Puss, was shot by a pellet gun two-and-a-half years ago.
"There [are] so many people coming forward saying they live on Howick Street or they're living in Redwoodtown and have lost cats who just disappeared," Fratucelli said.
"In that block between Renwick and Bythell Street, cats are just disappearing continuously.
"Somebody out there is definitely killing cats and shooting guns - that much we know."
Poura was taken to Springlands Vet on Friday "in a lot of pain", where she was treated by Nigel Nesbit.
Nesbit said the bullet went in between the shoulder and chest, exiting at a "perfect" angle at the armpit, grazing her down the side and cutting through the skin at the side of her hip.
"We sutured up what we could and put a drain in to try and minimise infection and long-term damage," Nesbitt said.
"We don't know how the front leg is going to go nerve damage-wise because there is a major nerve that passes exactly where the bullet did.
"He could well need the leg amputated in the future."
Nesbit said attacks on felines were not uncommon - Poura being the second case in the past two weeks.
"The two recent ones and this one in particular would have had to be quite high-powered rifles," Nesbit said.
"The one I saw two weeks ago the bullet had gone straight through the cat, so you're not talking slugs and shotguns, you're talking 22s and above. It had to be a high-powered rifle to do it.
"It's a callous, stupid, lazy, horrible thing to do."
Police confirmed they received a report of a cat being shot on Friday, and investigations were ongoing.
Marlborough Community Constable Russ Smith said there could potentially be two charges for the offence; cruelty to animals, and the discharging of a firearm in a built-up area.
"If the animal survives the shooting and is injured, it is a cruelty to animal charge," Smith said.
Fratucelli said Poura was brought home from the vet on Monday, but she was still concerned about his safety in the area.
"For now he's definitely pulling through. But there's no saying that we're not going to lose him in the future if that person is not found."