Warning over cat poisonings

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Fears have been raised over a spate of ‘heart-breaking’ anti-freeze poisonings which have killed a number of cats in the Swineshead area.

A couple from the village were left heartbroken after losing four of their beloved pets – two of them just a few days before Christmas.



Lindsey Quibell and Andy Burkes have issued a warning to other cat owners in the area after they found one of their beloved pets dead, and had to have a further three put to sleep as a result of poisoning.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “On November 21, the couple found their four-year-old cat, Lola, suffering from the symptoms of poisoning. They rushed her to the vets as she was fitting but, following an examination, she was put to sleep.

“Just a few days later, Lindsey and Andy found their tabby, Alfie, dead, although his body was not taken to the vets so we cannot be sure how he died.

“A month later, on December 22, the pair took two of their cats to the vets as they were acting out of sorts. Staff ran blood tests on two-year-old Smokey and 18-month-old Mrs Kisses and found the results to be consistent with poisoning so, sadly, both were put to sleep on veterinary advice.”

In October, just months before the four deaths which devastated the couple, their fifth cat Izzy went missing and has failed to return home. Lindsey and Andy fear the worst.

“We loved our cats like children – they were our babies,” said Lindsey. “It has been utterly heartbreaking to lose them all.

“We miss them terribly. The house is so empty without them and, although we’d love another cat, we don’t think it would be fair to bring one to this area until this is resolved.”

Lindsey urged cat owners in Cragg Close, Michael Moses Way and Abbey Road to keep a close eye on their pets.

The couple's pet cat Smokey pictured before his anti-freeze poisoning.

The couple's pet cat Smokey pictured before his anti-freeze poisoning.

“Be vigilant, look out for the signs and, if possible, keep your cats indoors,” she said.

Vet Elizabeth Hele, from Elwood, Briggs & Turner, in Kirton, saw three of the couple’s cats. She said: “It is vital that any owner who is worried about their pet gets it to a vet as soon as possible.”

These incidents have since been reported to the RSPCA and inspector Rebecca Harper is leading an investigation.

“To hear of four cats in the area dying from suspected poisoning is upsetting, but to learn they were all owned by the same couple is just heartbreaking,” said Rebecca.

“We urge any owners who fear their pets may have been poisoned to get in touch. We just want to warn people in the area and urge cat owners to be vigilant.

“This could have been an accidental incident, but we want to prevent further incidents in the future and remind people to be careful when putting down substances.”

If a cat ingests a small amount of poison, it can lead to kidney failure and death. The substance is poisonous to any living animal, including dogs.

Deliberately poisoning an animal incurs a £20,000 fine and/or six months in prison under the Animal Welfare Act.

l Anyone with information about the poisonings should call the RSPCA appeal line in confidence on 0300 1238018.