A Co Down family have told of their shock after both their cats were poisoned by anti-freeze.
It comes as a vet warned of a sharp rise in the number of cats to die after ingesting anti-freeze during the recent cold snap — and highlighted that just one teaspoonful can be fatal.
Simba and Ellie died within days of each other after showing symptoms of poisoning, owner Laverne Boyd said. Toxicology results carried out by Cedar Grove Veterinary Clinic in Belfast showed that anti-freeze poisoning was behind the mysterious deaths.
The cats had been adopted by Laverne and Colin Boyd, from Newtownards, and their son George in November 2008 after the animals were rescued by the Cats Protection League.
Laverne described how Ellie was the first to succumb to the poison a couple of weeks ago. A post-mortem examination has just confirmed that traces of anti-freeze were in her body.
“Ellie had been sick. She was bringing up bile and it was foamy and she was falling all over the place,” she said.
“We reckoned it was some kind of poison but we didn’t know exactly what the problem was. The next day the vet got the toxicology results and found it was antifreeze.
“Then 24 hours later Simba had the same symptoms. It takes a very aggressive treatment to try and flush it out of the system — the antidote is alcohol — but unfortunately it was just too late.”
Cedar Grove Veterinary Clinic in Belfast, which treated the cats, said it had noticed a dramatic spike in the number of cat deaths from anti-freeze poisoning.
Vet Laura Wallace warned cat-owners to be more aware of the danger so that simple preventative measures can be put in place.
“The animal only stands a chance of survival if seen drinking the anti-freeze and treated within an hour. Otherwise by the time physical signs become apparent it may be too late.”