THE RSPCA is appealing for information and warning pet owners in the area to be cautious after a cat died from poisoning in Thurrock.
Rolo, a much-loved nine year-old, grey, long haired moggy, appeared to be asleep when his owner found him curled up at home at Gordon Road, Corringham on Sunday 1 February.
But when she picked him up she found him very weak. He couldn’t stand up or walk and was also being sick. Rolo was taken to the vet who, after blood tests, confirmed that the cat’s kidneys were failing and that it was consistent with antifreeze poisoning.
Sadly, the vet recommended that Rolo be put to sleep as there was nothing more he could do to help him.
There have also been anecdotal reports of other cats from the same street dying from similar symptoms around the same time and there are fears the number of poisoned cats could be higher with owners not realising antifreeze is to blame for their pets illness.
Although it is not known where the antifreeze came from owners are asked to keep an eye on their pets and for the public to ensure any antifreeze is securely stored so cats cannot access it.
RSPCA inspector Marie Hammerton said: ‘We would like to ask everyone in the area to keep an eye on their cats’ wellbeing.
“Vet tests determined this cat died from ingesting poison – and it is possible other cats suffered as well – but we do not know what the source of it is.
“At this stage we do not know if this is an accidental incident or deliberate but in the meantime we would ask for everyone in the area to check where they keep their antifreeze and make sure it is secure and out of the way of cats.
“People should check their cars for any leaks too.
“It is possible that people were simply unaware of the potential hazards to cats when they poured the antifreeze away.
“Similarly we cannot rule out that this was a deliberate act of cruelty and would ask anyone who has information to this effect to contact us immediately.’
Signs of antifreeze 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 signs of poisoning can include one, or several of the following:
— Seeming depressed or sleepy
— Appearing drunk and uncoordinated
— Difficulty breathing
— Increased thirst
— Increased urination
If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned you must take it to a vet immediately. If possible, you should take a sample of what the cat has eaten/drunk, or the container.
Poisoning a cat deliberately is a criminal offence. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the maximum penalty for those found guilty of this offence is up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to Â£20,000.
If anyone has any information about suspected antifreeze poisonings they can contact the RSPCA inspector appeal line in confidence on 0300 123 8018.
The RSPCA is a charity that relies on donations to exist. If you can help please text HELP to 78866 to give Â£3 (texts cost Â£3 plus one standard network rate message).