TWO young cats have died after being shot by thugs.

A vet has now issued a warning to pet owners after Mitch, who was just approaching his first birthday, was found dead near his Langdon Hills home. He was taken to Cherrydown Vets, in Basildon, where a small wound was found in his chest. An x-ray revealed an airgun pellet in his lung which had caused it to collapse.

A second cat, who lived in the Laindon area and was approximately the same age as Mitch, was also taken to Cherrydown as he was dragging his back legs. An x-ray revealed a pellet in his spinal cord, so sadly the cat had to be put down.

Vet Sami Da Costa Argent said: “The Cherrydown team has been extremely saddened by the recent fatalities we have seen secondary to gun pellet wounds to two young cats.

“As a practice we want to make sure the general public in the area are made aware of this upsetting news and to make it clear that this kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable.

“The families these have affected are obviously and understandably completely devastated and we hope that by raising awareness of the issue we can try to avoid further incidents of this nature.

“If you have any concerns that your cat has been shot or is injured, please seek veterinary attention immediately.”

Mitch’s heartbroken owner, Tracy Milton, said: “The whole family is simply devastated by what has happened to our little cat.

“Mitch was found lying on the pavement by a neighbour and there were no obvious signs of injury.

“We’ve had Mitch since he was a few weeks old.

“We got him on the anniversary of my dad Michael’s death so we named Mitch after him.

“He was an absolutely beautiful, bouncy cat, full of fun.

“He was such a character and he loved playing in the garden.”

An Instagram page, justice_for_mitch, has been set up for Mitch, calling for airguns to be banned and to stop these types of deaths.