WORRIED vets have issued an urgent warning after a string of mystery pet poisonings which have already claimed the lives of three Doncaster cats.
The organisation Vets Now Doncaster is issuing an alert to cat owners to take precautions following the spate of poisonings, and has also alerted the authorities to its concerns.
Vets from the emergency out-of-hours clinic in Bawtry Road, Bessacarr, are urging owners in the area to keep their cats indoors until the problem has been resolved.
One family is desperately hoping their pet cat will survive the latest in a spate of poisoning incidents on the same Doncaster street.
Molly is one of five cats believed to have swallowed anti-freeze in the Monks Close area of Dunscroft - and only two have survived.
Joanne Sparrow, Molly’s owner, would have been faced with veterinary bills amounting to £1,000 for treatment if she had not taken out adequate pet insurance.
It is only recently, after Joanne gave birth to her second child, Olivia, two weeks ago, that Molly and sister cat Millie have spent more time outdoors in the area where they live.
Joanne first noticed Molly was not acting normally last Sunday morning because she would not eat her food, was walking in a ‘drunken’ manner and was twitching.
As soon as her husband returned home from work the couple took the cat to Vets Now, where the animal was put on a drip to try to get rid of toxins in her system and prevent further damage to her kidneys.
Molly was on a drip all night and is still undergoing tests to establish the extent of damage to her kidneys. If it is irreparable she will have to be put down.
“She’s not out of the woods yet so we’re hoping for the best,” said Joanne.
“She doesn’t normally wander far but I have been letting her out more with having a new baby.
“Now I’ve learned a lot of cats have been poisoned in the street.
“I don’t want to think anyone has done this on purpose. Nobody has been complaining about the cats so I don’t know if it’s deliberate or accidental.
“I know cats love anti-freeze because it tastes nice to them, and Molly is a greedy cat.
“If she pulls through I will definitely have to keep her in the house all the time - I can’t risk this happening again.”
Since the end of April the Vets Now Doncaster clinic has seen five cats from Monks Close, all showing signs of acute renal failure.
Only two of the cats could be saved thanks to intensive treatment primarily due to catching the symptoms early.
Vets Now Doncaster has consulted the Veterinary Poisons Information Service to establish the source of the problem and results show the likely source is ethylene glycol which is contained in anti-freeze, brake fluid, concentrated screenwash and de-icer.
As well as being highly toxic to cats it is also poisonous to small children.
Vets Now has also contacted Doncaster Council and the RSPCA to alert them to the issue.
Laura McDermott, senior vet at Vets Now Doncaster, said: “Following investigations we have found out the most likely source of the poisonings is ethylene glycol.
“We would urge residents in the area to check their garages and gardens in case a leaking container has been left out in the open.”
A spokesman for the RSPCA said it was difficult to prove if the poisonings had been deliberate.
“Every year the RSPCA is made aware of tragic incidents where cats are sadly believed to have died from ingesting anti-freeze,” he said.
“Under the Animal Welfare Act anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering faces a fine of £20,000 and/or six months in prison.
“Where there is evidence an animal has been deliberately poisoned the RSPCA will look to prosecute those responsible.”