Cat poisonings on the rise

Jerry and Oscar, who both died from anti-freeze poisoning.
Jerry and Oscar, who both died from anti-freeze poisoning.

Pet-lovers have been warned cats are being poisoned with anti-freeze after a spate of cat deaths in Birkenshaw.

Tom Clarke, a vet from Abbey House Vets in Cleckheaton, said his practice has noticed an increase in the past year of cat poisonings by anti-freeze.

He said: “We have had about five or six in the past year. The problem is it’s sometimes difficult for us to tell if the poisoning has been caused by anti-freeze. It contains ethylene glycol, which causes kidney failure in cats.”

Birkenshaw residents are so concerned about the increase in poisonings that they called a public meeting this week.

They said that up to 12 cats could have been poisoned over two years – in just three streets.

Anna Dyson-Clarke, who organised the meeting at the Gomersal Park Hotel, said 10 cats from Oak Way, Birklands Moor and Elm Court had died from suspected poisoning, and another two had gone missing.

One of the people who attended the meeting, Kate McCann, told of her parents’ grief when two of their cats were poisoned within three months of each other.

She said: “The first cat, Jerry, came back into the house frothing at the mouth and convulsing – it had to be taken to the vet and put to sleep. Three months later, exactly the same happened to another cat, Oscar. The vet told them both times it was anti-freeze.

“It was very upsetting to my parents – they had had Jerry for 16 years and he was one of the family.”

Neighbourhood Policing Team co-ordinator Martyn Lee said: “We have had no reports of cats being poisoned in the area over the past year. This makes me suspect people don’t actually know it is a criminal offence to intentionally poison cats.

“The problem is it is very hard to prove that someone has poisoned cats intentionally, but if the number discussed in the meeting is true, it is in such a small area that it could well be someone acting indiscriminately against cats.”