Anti-freeze plea after four cats die

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A SPATE of cat poisoning cases in Kirriemuir has prompted local vet Ian Gill to appeal to homeowners in the Knowehead area of town to make sure they store anti-freeze responsibly.

Ian, a partner at the Thrums Veterinary Group, has reported four cats have died and two survived after being poisoned by anti-freeze.

Although it is not known whether the poisoning was deliberate or a result of the anti-freeze being stored inappropriately, he urges house-holders to ensure cats cannot access the poison.

He told the Herald: “We saw the first case on June 26 and the last case would be about a week ago.

“The symptoms are that the cat is seen to stagger about as though drunk. They go off their food until they won’t eat and become dull and lie about.

“Because anti-freeze is a sweet substance cats are attracted to it and they don’t need a great amount to become poisoned by it.”

Ingestion of anti-freeze by the cats can cause a horrific death as the animal’s kidneys shut down due to the poisoning.

One cat called Amber has been re-united with its owners and her five-week old kittens after receiving round the clock care by an American student at the practice who fed Amber every hour as well as giving her sips of water to avoid mouth ulcers. Another cat has also survived.

Mr Gill continued: “Anti-freeze is one of the easiest poisons to detect.

“To get so many cases in a small area of the town is worrying. The possibility is there has been some anti-freeze left out that these cats have had access to or it has been put down deliberately.

“If anyone has that stuff lying around, clear it up. They might not appreciate that it’s there and the potential danger.

“I would ask residents to make sure it is stored in a secure place so dogs and cats can’t get to it. There have also been cases of poisoning in humans when anti-freeze is stored in a drinks bottle. It is often youngsters looking for alcohol.

“With the cats they are obviously in pain and discomfort as the anti-freeze is broken down into oxalate crystals which cause the damage. That is what is picked up in the post-mortem.

“Cat owners are now worrying about how long they have to keep their cats in if there is still access to this poison.

“The main thing is to ask anybody in that area to check outbuildings to make sure no anti-freeze has been spilt and there is no access to it.”

At the time of going to press yesterday (Tuesday) a spokesman for Tayside Police said: “While we are aware of the incidents, the matter is under enquiry by the SSPCA.

“However, we would of course request that anyone with any concerns or suspicions contact either ourselves or the SSPCA to pass on any relevant information.”

Anyone with information should contact the SSPCA on 03000 999 999 or Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222, or speak to any officer.