THUGS killed a family cat by shooting it in the head, leaving his owners in tears.

Marc Trussler, ten, found his pet Tinx howling in agony near his family home in Vaughan Williams Road, Laindon, after returning from school.

The five-year-old moggy was rushed to the vets by Marc’s mum, Karen Richardson, on Wednesday night with its eye bulging out and blood shot.

Vets said the shooting probably happened in the ten-minute period Karen was out on the school run.

They carried out emergency treatment, but Tinx died the next morning.

Karen, 36, said: “I am disgusted, I am angry and I am hurt.

“Marc heard her bell and went running out to greet her, but when he saw her he screamed and started crying.

“At first I thought she had been hit by a car, but then vets carried out an X-ray and found a lead pellet lodged in her skull.

“They must have held Tinx up and pointed the gun at her. I am devastated.”

It is believed Tinx was shot with an air rifle. Police are treating the attack as animal cruelty.

Ms Richardson, who has another cat and three dogs as well as reptiles and fish, said: “To me, my animals are like my kids. I love my pets to bits. I rescued her when she was four weeks old after she was rejected by her mum and owners.

“This has destroyedmy family, – it’s like taking one of my kids away. Marc has had sleepless nights and flashbacks and he will have to walk past the place he found her every day on his way to school. Why should my cat have to suffer when she has done nothing wrong?”

Anyone with information can call Basildon Police on 101.