A FAMILY has been left heartbroken after their cat was shot and later died of his wounds.

Devastated owners Kelly and Ian Dawson, from Connah’s Quay, are now worried for the safety of their children.

The family were first concerned when their black and white cat Joseph failed to come home last Thursday evening.

When he arrived back at their house on Sandy Way on Friday morning, mother-of-two Kelly knew something was wrong and took him to the Village Vets in Buckley.

“He was crawling on the floor like a soldier who’s been shot in a film,” she said. “I knew we had to take him to the vets.

“They did an x-ray and found a pellet had hit his shoulder and gone through his lung and lodged in his stomach.

“The vet said it was an air-rifle pellet. They said it was quite a powerful one because it had gone straight through the lung.”

Joseph was placed on a drip overnight at the vet’s but died on Saturday evening.

“We’ve been very upset,” said Kelly, who is concerned her children Jessica, four and Ryan, one, may be accidentally hit by an air rifle.

“What I’m worried about are my kids. If they are playing in the back garden and someone tries to shoot a cat, what if they shoot my kids instead?” she said.

Kelly’s house backs on to the Connah’s Quay Wetlands Nature Reserve, where Joseph used to go, and she suspects he was shot there. The angry mum says there has been a lot of trouble in the reserve recently, especially with people congregating in the new bird hide.

Last month the Leader reported on vandals trashing the reserve, which was officially opened by Deputy First Minister Carwyn Jones in January.

The 4.2 acre reserve, funded by a Welsh Assembly Grant of £50,000, is the culmination of months of hardwork by Groundwork, QuayCat and community volunteers.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “Any attack on an animal is a malicious act of cruelty and sadly we find the commonest targets are cats and wild and water birds.

“We would appeal for witnesses or anyone who knows someone in the area with an airgun to contact police or the RSPCA.”

Anybody with information can call North Wales Police on 101.