SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The shooting of a cat in Sullivan County is under investigation, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) officials say .

According to a statement from SCSO Captain Andy Seabolt, a deputy responded to a call on Gaines Street in Kingsport on Thursday, March 24 in reference to an animal that had been shot. The caller told officers that on Tuesday night she had heard a gunshot outside of her home, and hadn’t been able to find her cat Louise afterwards.

It was over 24 hours before she was found hiding in the owner’s garage.

Louise had been shot in the face with what the owner believes was buckshot, and was bleeding severely. She was rushed to Indian Ridge Animal Hospital, where Dr. Eubanks and staff set to work stabilizing and assessing the damage that the shot may have caused.

“I saw a Facebook post that immediately I thought was a red flag,” Halee Robinson, public relations head for HSWC, said. “It was someone requesting help with a cat that had been shot in the face, said that it was already at the vet receiving treatment but needed help.”

After getting in contact with the owner on Friday of that week, Robinson said Louise was signed over to be cared for by the Humane Society. Part of that process was a visit with Louise in the hospital. When Robinson saw her, she was surprised to see Louise on her feet.

“She was in great spirits, she was purring, walking around, giving us kisses,” Robinson said. “I mean, not what you would expect to have just been shot in the face two days prior.”

Louise’s maxilla, the upper portion of bone that made up part of her mouth, had been completely obliterated by the shot. Intensive surgery with Dr. Eubanks left her with no bone in that region of her mouth.

“She did a fantastic job, that’s been sutured up but now that’s just tissue,” Robinson said. “There’s no bone there, so we can’t guarantee how regrowth is going to go. We’re hoping that it will suture just fine, that it will heal on its own, and it’ll be as if she did have a maxilla there.”

Louise’s sight on the most impacted right side is still intact, as well as her hearing. Indian Ridge is hoping she’ll be discharged around the end of the week, but the road to full recovery is a long one.

“As long as we follow through with her rehabilitation, which is expected to last about 4-6 months, she should live a fairly normal life,” Robinson said. “A normal life expectancy, and she’ll be able to do all the things that a normal cat would do.”

So far, the care that saved Louise’s life costs around $2,000. To help offset those costs, HSWC is raising funds online.

“We’ve been lucky enough that the post I made on Saturday has raised us over $1,700,” Robinson said. “Though that bill’s going to continue to grow.”

Despite the quality care and fundraising results, Robinson said nothing makes this situation okay.

“It’s just something that’s so difficult to process and you know no matter how many times we see cases like this come through it never gets better.,” Robinson said. “I mean, it’s just sickening to think there are people that evil in the world… I mean, that cat was a defenseless, innocent creature that was minding its own business and it just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Seabolt said that an investigator has been assigned to the case, and that investigation is underway. Aside from initial call details, nothing has been released yet by the SCSO.

“I do know that they have searched the surrounding property, and they’ve gone door-to-door with some neighbors and tried to get some answers” Robinson said. “They do have what they think is a suspect, though they’re not being very cooperative at this time. So, it’s still an ongoing investigation.”