Cats Protection is calling for a change in the law on air gun ownership in England and Wales.

Please sign our petition.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2020 - The Government has announced the outcome of a consultation on air guns which ended in 2018. They have decided not to consider the case for licensing air guns any further at this time, but are looking at reducing access to air guns for under 18s -  which is a small positive step. Overall, Cats Protection is very disappointed in this response and we will be pressing for the decision not to introduce licensing of these lethal weapons to be reconsidered. Cats Protection will also raise again our concern that unlicensed access to air guns is resulting in countless cats and other animals being shot, injured and killed.

Northern Ireland has led the way in restricting gun ownership. Since 2004, anyone who buys, owns or uses an air weapon is required to have a license. Scotland adopted similar legislation at the start of 2017.

Since 2015, Cats Protection has monitored reports in the press of cats who have been shot with an air gun. During this time Northern Ireland has experienced the lowest incidence of shootings reported in the press compared to other parts of the UK. This suggests that the licensing legislation in Northern Ireland is working.

Since 2015, over 800 cats in the UK were reported in the press as being shot with an air gun. Crucially, over 90% of these attacks were in England and Wales.

We believe making it illegal to own an air gun without a licence will stop these deadly weapons falling into the wrong hands so easily and reduce the number of cats killed or left with life-changing injuries. 

We are calling on all Members of Parliament to support a call for England and Wales to follow Northern Ireland and Scotland's lead on air guns and introduce licensing.*

So why are we targeting air guns and not the perpetrators of these terrible attacks? The reality is that air gun attacks on cats are rarely witnessed. It is very hard to establish when and where a shooting takes place. This is why we want the weapons themselves to be strictly licensed.

We can only bring about change to the laws on air guns in England and Wales if the many thousands of cat lovers like you get behind our campaign. If you want to help us stop lethal air guns falling into the wrong hands, please sign our petition. 


* Air gun regulation is a reserved matter in Wales which means it is dealt with at Westminster.


To learn more about our campaign, watch our video below. 

For stories of cats that have been victims of shootings, click here

Billy's story


When our vets at the National Cat Adoption Centre in Sussex first saw Billy, he had so many puncture wounds they thought he’d been attacked by a wild animal. But as the treating Veterinary Officer recalls: “When we looked at his X-rays we could see his whole body and head were literally peppered with air gun pellets.”

Two pellets were removed from Billy’s neck but the rest, particularly the four lodged in his head, were just too deep. The Veterinary Officer said it was a “miracle” Billy had survived at all. Billy has been left totally blind in one eye with the other being so badly damaged that it had to be removed. Luckily Billy is now settled in a new loving home and has adapted well to his sight loss.

Jalapeno's story


When Jalapeno was brought to our adoption centre in Bridgend, the staff could tell she was in serious pain. She had lost an eye after being shot with an air rifle, but she was also suffering another, less obvious, injury. The staff discovered Jalapeno had a second pellet lodged in her shoulder. The pain caused by the pellet wedged against bone must have been almost unbearable and Jalapeno had become incredibly shy and withdrawn around people.

The vet operated on Jalapeno straight away, removing the pellet that was causing her such pain. With plenty of rest and time to recover she started to come out of her shell, blossoming into the friendly, playful cat she would have been before being attacked.

Lily's story


In April last year Cats Protection was contacted about Lily, a cat from York that was shot in the stomach with an air gun. The bullet perforated her bowels and she underwent emergency surgery to repair the damage. Despite suffering from severe peritonitis she came through it all and is now well on the road to recovery.

Chaos's story


Chaos was shot between her eyes in September 2016 in Neath, South Wales. The pellet miraculously missed her brain and lodged in the muscle between her spine and gullet, where it remains. It did, however, shatter the bones in her nose making her unable to breathe except through her mouth which, of course, prevented her from eating or drinking.

She was fitted with a feeding tube which has now been removed and she is able to eat and drink again. She has only been outside once since her recovery and was frightened by the lights outside the house which tends to support the vet’s theory that a light was shone in her face to temporarily blind her before being shot.


Cats Protection is calling on all Members of Parliament to support the introduction of licensing air guns in England and Wales.

Given that The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 and The Firearms (NI) Order 2004 require any person who possesses, purchases or uses an air weapon to have a licence in Scotland and Northern Ireland, we are calling for the licensing of air guns to be extended across the whole of the UK.

Sign our petition by filling in your details*.


*Signatories will only be counted once.

How many supporters have signed our petition so far?

*11,867 supporters have signed a paper petition.