Devastated cat owners fear deliberate antifreeze poisoning in Scarborough

Marla Sands and Mum Carol Graham cuddle their remaining cats Millie, Bonnie and Molly after Dee Dee (right) died of suspected antifreeze poisoning on Friday.
Marla Sands and Mum Carol Graham cuddle their remaining cats Millie, Bonnie and Molly after Dee Dee (right) died of suspected antifreeze poisoning on Friday.

A distraught cat owner has been told that her tortoiseshell cat died from one of the key ingredients in antifreeze.

After letting 10-year-old Dee Dee out at around 1.30pm, Carol Graham, of Park Street, didn’t see her cat again until 5.30pm when she came across her pet in a bad way in her garden.

The 59-year-old, who also owns another three cats, said: “I knew something was wrong straight away. We took her down to Alma Vets straight away and after half an hour they asked for my permission to put her to sleep.

“To me, it is murder. I don’t think this is an accident. I am still in total shock. I still call Dee Dee when it’s feeding time.

"She dragged herself back to the garden and was dying in my arms. It is the cruellest death for an animal to endure.”

Veterinary staff believe Dee Dee had been poisoned with ethylene glycol, one of the key ingredients in antifreeze.

Cats have a fatal attraction to the sweet-tasting antifreeze, an allure animal poisoners have taken advantage of over the years.

Antifreeze can start affecting a cat within 30 minutes of being consumed, although it can take up to three days for it to cause kidney failure.

Heather Westron, a partner at Alma Vets, told The Scarborough News that since 2015, they had to put seven cats to sleep due to antifreeze poisoning.

She said: “It is possible that some cases could be an accident, but it’s getting to be too much of a coincidence.

"It can be treated but only if spotted very early. Nearly all cases are fatal.

"My advice would be to keep your cat indoors, but I know it’s difficult. I would love to see some justice. Why would someone want to do something like this?”

Poisoning cats can constitute a criminal offence; under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the maximum penalty for anyone found guilty is up to six months imprisonment and/or a £20,000 fine.

Earlier symptoms include vomiting, appearing drunk and unco-ordinated or depressed and sleepy. It can also cause seizures and breathing problems.

Anyone suspecting a cat has been poisoned should seek urgent veterinary advice and, if possible, take a sample or container of what the animal consumed.

The Park Street, Park Road and Park Avenue area of Scarborough has seen a number of incidents in previous years.

Park Street resident Tikki Emad’s cats, Biscuit and Milly , fell victim to suspected antifreeze poisoning in 2015.

She said: “It was heartbreaking and our two children were also extremely upset. We have an existing cat and are obviously very keen to draw attention to this and try to prevent it happening again.”

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We have received reports that several cats have been put to sleep over a period of time in Scarborough because of what is believed to be ethylene glycol poisoning.

"Inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incidents.”

If anyone has any information that could assist the investigation call 101 relating to incident number 12170161828.