A cat has been shot and seriously injured in Lancashire days after a similar shooting that left the pet needing to have a leg amputated.
The cat, called Rufus, was shot in the head in Accrington and taken to a vet by a member of the public.
The shooting, on 20 April, came days after a cat was shot six times at close range in neighbouring Oswaldtwistle.
The RSPCA said officers were "investigating the possibility that the cases are linked".
A spokesman for the charity said the cat had been found coughing up blood, dizzy and disorientated and had had a "rusty metal gun pellet" extracted from its nose.
He added that the ginger tabby was still recovering from an infection and receiving regular treatment from a vet.
Insp Katherine Newman said such attacks "highlight the need for tighter controls on air weapons".