A veterinary surgery in Huntingdon has released a warning to communities following two sudden cat deaths, less than an hour apart, from antifreeze.
Cromwell Vets, in St John’s Street, took the family cats in from Cambourne on November 30, but was unable to help them after discovering they had irreparable kidney failure.
The Sheehan family say they were left “devastated” after learning that their cat - four-year-old tabby, Harrison - couldn’t be saved.
“He was just a typical sprightly cat, but just stopped eating and started to look a bit sorry for himself,” Sarah Sheehan, 43, said.
“We didn’t expect for him to be put down so quickly and thought he had just picked something up. He just went off his food and hid in a corner.”
Realising something wasn’t right, Mrs Sheehan’s husband, Gary, took Harrison to the Huntingdon veterinary surgery on November 30, but, after doing some blood tests, was told nothing could be done.
“We took him in because he had been poorly a year ago and been on a drip, but by the time Gary got home they rang and said they were going to have to put him down,” Mrs Sheehan said, adding that the family still don’t know how Harrison came by the antifreeze.
“We were devastated. It was too late to do anything about it.”
The surgery said another cat was brought in less than an hour before and also put down because of antifreeze ingestion – Alice, from the same road as the Sheehan family cat, in Greenhaze Lane.
Since then, the veterinary centre has released a warning, asking people to be vigilant when using antifreeze.
A spokesman said: “Sadly we see antifreeze poisonings every winter, so we want to get the word out there to everyone - not just pet owners - about how deadly it can be.
“Antifreeze causes irreparable damage to the kidneys and it only takes a teaspoon to be lethal to the average sized cat. We think most cats pick it up from spillages or drinking from contaminated puddles and they can also ingest it after cleaning it off their fur. It’s also toxic to dogs.
“We urge everyone to help to stop antifreeze poisonings by cleaning up spillages immediately, keep bottles out of reach, and don’t use antifreeze products in outdoor water features.”
Cromwell Vets said animals can survive antifreeze poisoning, and if they are seen quickly enough can be given medication to potentially stop kidney damage.
Symptoms often resemble drunkenness, including vomiting, increased heart rate, and poor co-ordination.