A pet cat found covered in blood had been shot in the head by an airgun.
Jeremy Bampton, 71, and wife Jan, 60, of Pevensey Road, in Loughborough, found their cat Whitey hiding under a chair on Sunday morning.
What they originally thought was an abscess turned out to be a hole caused by a pellet from an airgun.
It is thought the cat was shot on Saturday night.
Mr Bampton said: "Whitey is such a friendly cat, we're absolutely devastated."
After taking him to the Chine House Veterinary Hospital, the couple noticed there was a problem with the three-year-old cat's left side.
"It just wasn't working properly. The vet told us that the pellet was close to his brain and it was affecting his nerves."
The pellet, which had split in two, was removed on Wednesday and Whitey is now in intensive care.
Mrs Bampton said: "He is doing quite well now and hopefully we will get him home soon.
"He is walking better, but we don't know whether he will ever be completely well again.
"We're definitely more optimistic now, but only time will tell."
David Blow, from Chine House, said he was pleased with how Whitey was doing so far.
He said: "Touch wood, he is doing okay, but there is still the risk of infection.
"Whitey was extremely weak but the surgery went well and he's now a lot better.
"He's coming along nicely. There shouldn't be any long-term damage."
The incident follows the disappearance of Ossie, one of the couple's other four cats.
Mr Bampton said: "It's not nice to not know where your cat is and it makes us worry about letting our other pets out of the house."
The couple said since the beginning of the year, two other cats belonging to neighbours had also gone missing.
Mr Bampton said: "It's very strange that these cats have just disappeared. It's just very odd."
Of the pellet attack, he said: "I don't understand how people can do that."
RSPCA inspector Alison North said: "It is very, very sad and it's not right that people out there could be doing this to pets and even wild animals."
"Unfortunately, in many cases like this, it is hard to prove who is responsible."