A young male cat named Joe is recovering after being found shot in the head with a pellet gun and left at the side of the road.

The Sarnia and District Humane Society says Joe, as he's been named by veterinarians, was brought into the shelter Sunday evening.

Joe suffered 17 pellet shots to the head at point-blank range and as a result, will lose one of his eyes due to the trauma received during the incident.

Donna Pyette of the Sarnia Humane Society says "It is our belief that the cat was either forcefully confined with the help of other individuals or that his head was somehow put in some sort of device so he couldn't get out."

The cat was transferred to Blue Cross Animal Hospital, where he was put on an IV drip and administered pain medication. Surgery is being put off for a few days while Joe regains his strength.

Officials also report Joe was severely dehydrated and malnourished when he was found, and say it's amazing he is alive as it seems he was shot several days ago before being left for dead.

Dr. Sarah Rappaport at the Blue Cross Animal Hospital says "At least a few days, maybe a little bit longer. It almost looks like the skin is starting to scar around them so it's been awhile."

Luckily for Joe, Bruce Ritchie spotted him on the side of Lakeshore Road west of Brigend Road near Mike Weir Park in Brights Grove and immediately drove him to the humane society in nearby Sarnia.

"I picked him up. He was lying down with his head really on the track where the [car] tires had been going."

Joe is expected to recover in a few weeks and then will hopefully find a loving home.

Ritchie says "I just have difficulty understanding how people can be cruel to an animal, let's see if we can pull him through."

The OSPCA is now investigating the matter and is looking for the public’s help. Anyone with information is asked to call the OSPCA at 519-344-7064 or the Sarnia Police Service.