A cat has been deliberately shot in the face in a sickening attack which left her needing a pellet removed from her mouth.
The defenceless 10-month-old tabby is believed to have been held while the attacker fired at it from close range.
Police have been carrying out door-to door enquiries in Surrey Road – where owner Clarissa Nurthen lives and where the shooting is thought to have taken place.
They have been alerting homeowners about the shocking incident and in a bid to find any potential witnesses to identify the culprits.
Miss Nurthen, who lives with her two children, said she noticed her pet Emma had blood coming from her eye and her jaw didn’t seem quite normal.
She cleaned her up and decided to check on her in the morning when she took her to vets in Brighton after she couldn’t close her mouth properly.
The vets initially thought she had been attacked by an adult cat but Miss Nurthen was then told that Emma had been shot with an air rifle pellet or BB type gun.
She had to have an operation and is now recovering from her ordeal.
A shocked Miss Nurthen said, “The vets telephoned me at 11.45pm to say she had been shot in the head and it was at close range.
“It’s so cruel, who would want to do this to an animal?”
Police are now seeking information, while the founder of a wildlife charity has called for a total ban on air guns.
Trevor Weeks, from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service, said, “Airgun incidents are something we deal with on a regular basis.
“Personally I would like to see airguns banned.
“We deal with around 80 to 100 casualties per year that are shot using air rifles and to me that’s way too many.”
Acting Seaford sergeant Chris Wright added, “Whilst incidents of this nature are fortunately very rare it is of course most disturbing to think that someone has potentially intentionally harmed a helpless animal in this way.
“The vets have suggested that due to the positioning of the pellet it is possible that someone held the cat still while the gun was fired at it from close range.”
He added, “If at all possible it is imperative the individual(s) responsible are caught and dealt with robustly for the mindless and cruel injury caused to the cat, and doubtless dreadful stress caused to its owner.
“I would strongly urge anyone who may have any relevant information to contact Sussex Police quoting incident reference number 0594 of 14/04/12.”
The attack came to light just a week after pet owners were warned to be on their guard following a report that a shopper had tried to buy rat poison to kill foxes.