Despite being shot three times in the neck and head while pregnant, a cat has given birth to four kittens.
Hope, the black-and-white cat, was discovered drenched in blood in a garden near Marchwood, Hampshire.
The cat, estimated to be around three years old, was shot with an air gun, according to Cats Protection Southampton.
According to the organization, only one of the three pellets – the one in her mouth – could be extracted without endangering its life.
The last two were stuck in the animal’s neck.
“As well as needing surgery for her wounds and to remove the pellet, she needed to stay as an in-patient for a few days before she was allowed to return home with me to foster,” Carolyne Kemp of Cats Protection said.
“When it was time for Hope’s kittens to be born, she needed further help.
“It’s quite wonderful to have survived such an ordeal and then given birth to four healthy kittens.”
The organisation has received nearly 120,000 signatures on a petition asking for the government to establish air gun licensing in England and Wales, in line with regulations in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Since 2015, more than 800 cats have been shot with an air pistol in the United Kingdom, according to the charity.
“The misuse of air weapons to injure pets is entirely unacceptable,” a Home Office spokeswoman said. “That is why we have completed an assessment to determine whether the restrictions and laws in England and Wales are suitable and effective.”
“We plan to release our findings as soon as feasible.”