CAT OWNERS in Redditch are being warned to be on their guard after a suspected spate of pet poisonings in an area of the borough.
The advice comes from the RSPCA after it was contacted when three cats from the same household died in suspicious circumstances in Prospect Road North last month.
Blood tests later revealed their deaths were consistent with antifreeze poisoning.
Two, six-month-old kittens are also said to have died suddenly in the same road and a further incident was reported to the charity by a resident in nearby Huins Close when a number of his cats exhibited seizures and passed away before he could take them to a vet.
At the end of August another householder in Prospect Road North had to have his cat put to sleep, with a vet noting the animal’s throat and insides had been burnt.
RSPCA inspector Claire Davey, who is investigating the cases, said: “These are such sad and upsetting incidents and we extend our sympathies to the owners of all the cats who have lost their lives and urge pet owners in the local area to be vigilant.
“At this stage we don’t know if these were accidental incidents or deliberate attempts to cause harm, but in the meantime we would ask everyone who lives in this vicinity to check where they keep their pesticides and chemicals and make sure they are secure and out of the way.
“Many different substances can poison pets so it’s vital owners are aware of the signs and act quickly by taking their animal to a vet immediately, along with a sample, if possible, of what they have eaten or drunk.”
The RSPCA said poisoning an animal on purpose was a criminal offence under the Animal Welfare Act and urged anyone with information about the Redditch cases to contact the RSPCA by calling 0300 1234 999.
Owners should look out for the signs of poisoning which can happen anything from 30 minutes onwards after an animal has ingested the chemical, although it can take up to two to three days before signs of kidney failure are seen.
Symptoms include one or several of the following – vomiting, pets being depressed or sleepy, pets appearing drunk or uncoordinated, seizures and difficulty breathing.