Owners of a much-loved Haw-orth cat who died of an infection last week have spoken of their horror after discovering an airgun pellet lodged in his body.

Haworth Main Street resident Emma Cox, 46, has hit out at the “despicable” person responsible for shooting her beloved feline friend, Oscar.

She said she understood his death last Thursday was actually due to complications caused by a viral infection, but added she was stunned someone had deliberately targeted him in a gun attack.

Oscar was a four-and-half-year-old long-haired black cat, who was a common sight in and around Main Street for the past few years. He was a big hit with locals and tourists alike, who used to stroll confidently into the parish church and Brontë Parsonage Museum, and snack at Changegate Fisheries.

Mrs Cox, who runs a pair of homeware and gift shops in Skipton and Halifax, said the airgun pellet was discovered in one of Oscar’s hind legs when she took him to a vet after he fell ill.

She added: “The vet told me the pellet had been in him for four to six weeks – I just couldn’t believe it.

“For someone to be taking random pot-shots at people’s pets is absolutely despicable.

“A lot of people were very fond of Oscar. He was photographed so many times by loads of people – the Japanese visitors loved him.

“He attended quite a few events at Haworth Parish Church, weddings and funerals included. He used to sit in the church regularly and greet visitors.

“I’ve had cats all my life, but I’ve never had a cat like him before. He was king of the village up here.”

Angela Sampson, who owns Changegate Fisheries, said: “Oscar was very popular with us – he’d been coming here for years. The tourists always used to feed him. He was a lovely cat.”