Owners urged to take care after two cats die from antifreeze in Essex

16:09 21 February 2014

Pet owners are asked to be cautious after two cats have died from antifreeze poisoning in the last two weeks in Braintree.

Both animals came from the same area and there are fears the number of poisoned cats could be higher with owners not realising antifreeze is to blame for their cats 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 Sam Garvey said: “We would like to ask everyone in the area to keep an eye on their cats’ wellbeing.

“Antifreeze has a very distinctive sweet smell and if people can smell this on their cat and see that their fur is wet we would advise them to take their cat straight to the vets.

“The sweetness makes the taste of antifreeze very attractive to cats and people should be aware that it is extremely poisonous to their pets and just a small amount can lead to kidney failure and death.

“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 anti-freeze 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 can include one, or several of the following, vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing drunk and uncoordinated, seizures, difficulty breathing, increased thirst and 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 £20,000.

If anyone has any information about suspected antifreeze poisonings they can contact the RSPCA in confidence on 0300 1234 999.

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