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Norwich family's horror after five cats die of anti-freeze poisoning

PUBLISHED: 15:11 10 January 2011

Andrew Thompson and daughter Katie holding one of their remaining three cats.

Five of their cats died from antifreeze poisoning at the end of December.

Andrew Thompson and daughter Katie holding one of their remaining three cats. Five of their cats died from antifreeze poisoning at the end of December.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Cat owners in Norwich are being warned to stay alert after five pets died from anti-freeze poisoning on the same day.

The RSPCA made the appeal after a city family were left heartbroken when five of their cats all died on December 30.

The cats belonged to Andrew Thompson and his family, from Foster Road, in Catton Grove.

He said the family first realised something was wrong after taking one cat, Spike to the vets because he had become unstable on his legs and his back was giving way.

While at the surgery, Rabbit, an eight-year-old female, became ill and deteriorated rapidly, dying in the early hours of the morning, despite her owners trying to give her water on veterinary advice. Spike had to be put to sleep after blood tests revealed he had ingested antifreeze and had no chance of recovery.

Three of the family’s remaining six cats, Sprinkles, Cookie and Theodore, then began showing similar symptoms and also had to be put to sleep later the same day. It is thought all five had swallowed antifreeze.

Mr Thompson said the deaths had meant an unhappy new year for him, his partner, Sally Brett, and their three children.

“It was so upsetting for us and our children to see the cats suffer in the way they did and I just hope that people will be more careful if using antifreeze. Our other three cats and our neighbours’ cats have all been fine, but we think the antifreeze must have been nearby as they never go far from home,” he added.

Meanwhile at Woodland Close in Hellesdon, a cat died of suspected antifreeze poisoning on Wednesday. Jasper became ill the day before and when she was not able to move owner Cheryl Blundell took her to the vet.

The four-year-old had to be put to sleep and vets said that her symptoms were consistent with antifreeze poisoning.

Miss Blundell said: “When Jasper became ill the fact that she may have been poisoned didn’t even cross my mind. Since then, I realised that our other cat, Tom, had similar symptoms quite recently and neighbours have told me their cats have been ill too.

“It’s such a horrible thing for a cat to go through. I just hope that someone is not doing this deliberately.”

RSPCA inspector Carrie O’Riordan said: “Antifreeze causes horrific suffering to cats, which are attracted by its sweet taste. In the vast majority of cases, even a small amount leads to death.

“We are appealing to people in the Norwich area to be careful when using antifreeze and to dispose of it properly where it cannot be reached by cats.

“Sometimes, such poisoning is deliberate and we are also asking anyone who knows that someone is laying poison to contact us as this is illegal and those responsible could face up to six months in prison if they are found guilty of causing an animal to suffer.”

Those with information about deliberate poisonings should contact the RSPCA national cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

Owners can prepare themselves for an emergency by logging onto the new poisoning advice pages under at www.rspca.org.uk/poisoning

Have you lost a loved pet in suspicious circumstances? Contact Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk

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