Spate of cat deaths may be malicious

Jenny's cat Piglet at the vet's, just before she had to be put to sleep
Jenny's cat Piglet at the vet's, just before she had to be put to sleep

Cat-lovers in the Golf Terrace area believe their pets are being deliberately poisoned, following the latest incident where a resident’s cat had to be put to sleep after ingesting anti-freeze.

Four cats have died in similar circumstances since April of this year, and as police carry out investigations, a group of neighbours have decided to take it in turns to search the area of Golf Terrace every night.

“We just want to put this person off ever doing it again,” said distraught cat owner Jenny Crawford, whose cat Piglet had to be euthanized on Tuesday morning.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. My other cat Star had to be put to sleep in April after five days of suffering and other cats were affected then too. My next door neighbour’s cat Lola died at the same time as Star - I think they must both have taken the anti-freeze on the same night.

“On Monday night I came home and noticed Piglet’s co-ordination was strange. She tried to hide in her cat box but I lifted her out again to see what was going on. I knew something wasn’t right and knew straight away she must have taken anti-freeze because she was behaving the same way Star had.”

Jenny brought Piglet immediately to the out of hours vet who thought perhaps the cat had just been hurt some way. Jenny hoped against hope that that was the case, however an hour later she had to bring the little rescue cat back to the vet.

“The cat’s coordination had completely gone and she was throwing up,” said Jenny. “At 11.30pm Piglet was put onto a drip but through the night she deteriorated.

“The vet ran blood tests at 9.30 the next morning and the results were off the chart and showing all the symptoms of anti-freeze poisoning.”

Two days later Jenny’s neighbour called her over to say her cat Marmalade had been jerking and fitting that morning but had run off and despite searching she couldn’t find it. Marmalade turned up on Friday suffering and scarcely alive and within hours also had to be put to sleep at the Better Pets surgery.

Jenny and her neighbours are convinced the poisoning has been done deliberately.

“Definitely 100% this is deliberate,” said Jenny as she pleaded with whoever is doing it to stop.

“I would just say to whoever is responsible - please stop doing what you are doing.

“I would do anything to stop them doing this. They are breaking my heart. I just can’t believe my two cats are gone now. They are taking away members of my family and I don’t know what to do about it.

“I had already told the police about the other cats that were poisoned earlier in they year, so I contacted them again. They have talked to neighbours about this incident and carried out searches around places where they suspect it may be happening.

“They are particularly interested in anyone who keeps birds or who is particular about their garden or vegetable plots. They are taking it very seriously.

“I would do anything to try and resolve this - I have even in the past offered to pay for cat repellant for my neighbours who complained about the cats. If I could do something about it I would, but cats are free spirits, you can’t stop them wandering.

“I went to the papers the first time this happened because I wanted whoever was responsible to know that the police were involved. I have also had Piglet’s remains kept at the vet so that if someone is caught, a postmortem can be carried out on the cat to prove it was anti-freeze.”

Jenny, who has always had cats and dogs, now fears for her other cats.

“I have four cats at home and I’m trying to keep them in the house now, but it’s not working - they are going mad to get outside.

“My daughter of 7 is very upset about it all, but she’s always trying to comfort me too. I just can’t believe the cats are gone. I’m still brokenhearted over Star and that was 6 months ago. Star was the best wee thing.”

Meanwhile police in Banbridge have issued a statement asking local residents to ensure that any substances stored in gardens or yards are properly secured after a cat was poisoned.

Constable Colin Madine, Banbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team, explained: “We received a report of a cat suffering from poisoning in the Golf Terrace area on Tuesday, October 21. The cat had to be euthanized due to suffering caused by consumption of antifreeze or similar liquid.

“We have conducted house to house enquiries in the local area and would like to hear from anyone who has information in relation to this incident. I would also like to remind householders to ensure any containers, containing substances of this nature, which are kept outside are properly secured with a lid or cap to prevent harm to animals.”

Police can be contacted on the 101 number.