Cat owners' appeal after anti-freeze kills four pets
A heartbroken cat-lover has tearfully described how her pet died in her arms after being poisoned by anti-freeze.
Michelle Clarke said it was unclear if her 14-year-old cat Stitch was deliberately targeted or if it was an accident.
But the 46-year-old, from Tudor Oaks, Ballymoney, is urging people in the Co Antrim town to be on their guard.
She spoke out after four cats in her development of around 20 houses died of anti-freeze poisoning in the last few weeks.
She told the Belfast Telegraph: "I would advise people to be careful with anti-freeze. You can get pet-friendly anti-freeze, which is a bit more expensive. It only takes a teaspoon of ordinary anti-freeze to kill a cat.
"I would not want another family to go through this. It is crazy if someone has done this deliberately. I understand people don't like cats in their gardens but that is the way of the world, you are allowed to have cats."
She continued: "We have been here for 14 years and there have been colder winters than this when more anti-freeze would have been needed and Stitch survived all those winters."
Michelle added: "I don't know if somebody did it deliberately, or whether it leaked. You don't know if a drop spilled somewhere. Cats are so attracted to anti-freeze, with the sweet taste.
"I knew there was something seriously wrong with him and I took him to the vet's straight away. I never slept all night worrying about him.
"The next day I went back and the vet did a blood test, because when they swallow anti-freeze they get kidney failure. I said to Stitch 'I love you so much'.
"The readings in his blood were sky high; one should have been eight or nine but it was about 90 and the other should have been 30/40 but it was 900.
"The vet said he would not get better and it was decided to put him to sleep. I didn't want him to suffer. I just scooped him up in my arms and I just held him."
Michelle has been ill for 13 years and Stitch was her constant companion. "I didn't realise how good company he was until he had gone," she added.