02/04/2014 07:54 EST | Updated 04/06/2014 05:59 EDT

Cat shot in head 17 times recovering after surgery

Warning: Graphic photo

A cat that was shot 17 times in the head in Sarnia, Ont., is now recovering after surgery.

The cat named Joe had several hours of surgery on Thursday to remove the pellets, according to Donna Pyette, a manager with the Sarnia and District Humane Society. 

"The surgery lasted a few hours," said Pyette in an email to CBC Windsor. "He did lose the eye we had suspected he would lose. However, he is now resting comfortably and [is] expected to continue to improve over the next few days."

Pyette said a surgeon was able to remove all but one pellet, which remains lodged in the cat's cheek and should not affect his health in the future.

It's not known at this time if the feline will need more surgery in the future. 

The society is asking for the public's help in identifying whoever is responsible for what it described as "horrific animal cruelty."

The injured cat was spotted on Sunday afternoon in the community of Bright's Grove, just east of Sarnia, by a man on his way home from church.

The vet bill is expected to be about $5,000 and the humane society had begun collecting donations for Joe's care.

Applications for the cat to be adopted, or fostered, are not being taken at this time as Joe will be under the care of Blue Cross Veterinary Hospital and the humane society for some time.