Crossbow cat Moo Moo recovering well
A cat that survived being shot in the head with a crossbow is "incredibly lucky" and should make a full recovery.
A Wainuiomata family made a mercy dash to Massey Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Palmerston North after their cat was shot with crossbow bolt.
Janet Molyneux, director of the hospital, said Moo Moo was lucky to survive, and when the call had come in the team had assumed they would be looking at brain damage.
"The arrow hadn't actually pierced anything or damaged anything or affected the eye," she said. "We really assumed the worst."
"He's just been remarkably normal and happy and purring ... he's going to go on to be a completely normal happy cat."
Vet surgeon Dr Jonathan Bray said the four-year-old cat was incredibly lucky the bolt entered its head where it did.
"The bolt went in just above the eye but was a glancing blow across the cranium so didn't actually impact on brain tissue at all," he said.
Moo Moo's owner Donna Ferrari said their long-haired moggy was fine on Monday morning when he was fed, but in the afternoon she spotted him sitting in the back yard of their Tuam Gr home with the bolt protruding from both sides of his head.
"At first I thought it was a kids' toy, but when he turned I saw it went all the way through," she said.
"He ran away as soon as I took a step near him, and jarred the bolt against the step and took off up into the bush."
Ms Ferrari searched the foliage, but did not find him until Tuesday afternoon, when she spotted him lying motionless deep under a thick bush.
A neighbour helped retrieve the cat, which was then taken to a Wainuiomata vet.
"[The cat] was pretty calm, he purred, but every time he knocked the bolt in his head he flinched his ears back," she said.
"They [the veterinary staff] were flabbergasted. The vet said he'd never seen anything like it."
After consultation the family rushed Moo Moo to Massey University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Palmerston North for emergency surgery.
The operation went well, and he is expected to be home within a few days.
"They said afterwards he was sitting up quite calmly," Ferrari said.
Bray said that because the bolt missed brain tissue the process was a simple one.
"It was really just a matter of opening up the track so we could clean up the contamination so it would heal up OK," he said.
"There was a little bit of injury to his nose and eye socket, but he's an extraordinarily lucky cat. The velocity of the bolt hitting him would have been quite frightening, so he's very brave.
"He's very well this morning - bright and happy, the wound is doing fine and he's got nothing that is going to cause him any long-term harm."
But the incident has shocked Ferrari, and she is now concerned for the safety of her three-year-old daughter at the property.
"I felt sick to my stomach, it's very very worrying that something like this has been going on, and even if it was accidental - that could have been a kid," she said.
"It makes me wonder if there are any other animals out there that this has happened to that haven't actually come home."
Neither Hutt City Council animal services manager Les Dalton nor Wellington SPCA investigator Ben Lakomy have heard of any similar incidents recently.
However, Hutt City Council staff are now on the lookout. The SPCA is also interested in any information about the incident.
"The SPCA is disgusted that someone has targeted a helpless animal in this way and it's completely unacceptable," Lakomy said.
"It would appear on face value that it's an offence against the Animal Welfare Act," he said.
"That's a $50,000 fine and or one year in prison."
However, depending on the shooter's intentions, it could be a more serious offence, with even higher penalties, he said.
Wainuiomata Police have asked for the crossbow bolt, to carry out their own investigation. People with information are asked to contact Wellington SPCA on 389 8044, or Wainuiomata police on 439 0500.