A MUCH-LOVED pet cat came within millimetres of being killed after being shot in the chest with an air rifle.

Honey, a three-year-old tortoise shell, was out in the garden of her home in Coveney on Sunday when she was shot in an "incredibly cruel" attack by an unknown assailant.

Owner Mani Lindenthal said she was sitting indoors at about 8.45am when she saw her cat dart into the house in a state of panic.

She said: "She came shooting back into the room at a speed I have never seen her run before and it turned out she was running for her life.

"The pellet went into her shoulder and stopped a matter of millimetres from her heart, the vet said it was a 2:2 air rifle that was used.

"She lost lots of blood and was in complete shock, I have been round to see most of my neighbours and everybody is as appalled as I was, it really was incredibly cruel."

The police were informed but Mani said, without any witnesses, there wasn't much officers were able to do except warn other pet owners in the area to stay alert.

Honey has returned home following the attack and continues to make good progress, though she has had trouble walking because of nerve damaged suffered in her attempts to escape.

Ms Lindenthal said that since the attack Honey had been given the nickname 'Cheetah' because "of the speed of her escape as she was cheating death".