Is the Medway cat killer back?
08:36 22 June 2012
At least nine cats have died in just four weeks
There are fears the cat killer who poisoned ten pets in January is back after a spate of incidents in recent weeks.
In the last month, at least nine cats have been killed after consuming anti-freeze. All the incidents took place in Gillingham or Hoo.
Cats are attracted to the taste of the lethal substance and ingesting even a tiny amount can lead to kidney failure and death.
The poisonings follow a spate of deaths in January, when ten cats died in and St John’s Road, Hoo.
Although it is not known whether the deaths are purely accidental, the number of incidents happening again have raised fears it is a deliberate act.
Anyone found guilty of such an act faces a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and a fine of £20,000.
Hospital manager Jo Komoroczy at Gillingham PDSA PetAid, the veterinary charity, said: “PDSA has seen nine cases of poisoning in cats in the past four weeks which is significantly more than normal.
“Anti-freeze is toxic to cats who find it attractive resulting in some cats drinking it, with dramatic and, sadly, often fatal results. We advise owners to be very vigilant about poisoning in general, as many everyday plants and substances can be harmful to animals.”
Tara Brewer, of Sidney Road, Gillingham, lost three cats in three weeks.
Mrs Brewer explained how she came home from work to find the first cat, four-year-old Brandi, “acting like she was drunk”.
She said: “She fell off of the tumble dryer. She couldn’t even walk. We took her to the vet who said she had been poisoned and it could be by anti-freeze or by eating lilies, but we have had lilies in our garden for years and so know it wasn’t that.”
Mrs Brewer and her husband Richard, who own 13 cats, thought they had caused the death.
Mrs Brewer said: “We panicked and thought anti-freeze was in the house so we steam cleaned everything.”
Their 12-week-old kitten died soon after, believed to be from consuming Brandi’s vomit which would have had anti-freeze in.
The couple, who have 13 cats, kept them indoors to keep them safe, but had to let them out eventually.
Five days later, Ronnie, a nine-month-old cat, also died after suffering similar symptoms.
Mrs Brewer put signs up around the neighbourhood to warn people cats were being targeted.
She said she wants to think the cats had been poisoned by accident, rather than someone leaving anti-freeze out to kill them.
She said: “What are they going to do? Put anti-freeze down until they kill all the cats? If my cats were coming into your garden I would say throw water on them. You don’t kill them.
“If I lose another one I will rehome all my cats that can’t be indoor pets. I can’t go through it anymore.”
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “The RSPCA and Feline Advisory Bureau (FAB) are deeply concerned about and extremely saddened by any spate of vehicle anti-freeze poisonings of cats.
“Signs of anti-freeze poisoning can be seen anything from 30 minutes after a cat has ingested the chemical, though it can be two or three days before signs of kidney failure are seen.”
The RSCPA said symptoms include vomiting, appearing drunk and uncoordinated, seizures and difficulty breathing.
The spokeswoman added: “If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned you must take it to a vet immediately.”