A LEADING animal welfare group has warned cat owners to be vigilant after a series of deaths raised concerns the animals were being poisoned.
The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information about four cases of suspected poisoning in the Newtongrange area over the past month.
It is thought the animals died after ingesting antifreeze, and while the Scottish SPCA admitted it could not rule out the deaths being accidental, the number of cases has led it to warn that the animals may have been targeted deliberately.
The warnings came as cat lover Lynda Connelly raised similar concerns, saying she had lost two of her three beloved cats in less than a year.
Mrs Connelly, 55, who moved to Bonnyrigg in April last year to be with her partner, Patrick, said she had been horrified by the deaths.
“Ironically, I actually thought this would be a safer area for my pets than where I had lived previously,” she said.
But in July, her three-year-old male cat, Patches, failed to return to the house and has not been seen since.
She said: “I went round the neighbourhood putting up posters and talking to people. This was how I discovered that a cat belonging to a woman in a nearby street had recently died from suspected antifreeze poisoning.”
Mrs Connelly was devastated when one of her other pets, a three-year-old male ragdoll cat named Monkey, succumbed to a similar death last month.
“The PDSA said he had ingested a poisonous substance. Two weeks later, another woman who lives a couple of streets away from me also lost her pet cat, and was told it had probably consumed
Mrs Connelly was alarmed to hear reports that it was suspected four other cats in nearby Newtongrange had also been poisoned – one fatally.
She said: “The two areas being so close does suggest that the cases could be linked, which makes me worry that someone is doing this on purpose. I have another cat, a six-month-old male called Tiggs, and I’m actually afraid to let him leave the house now.”
Scottish SPCA inspector Emma Phillips said: “We are concerned by the number of incidents reported over a short space of time in a very small location. This suggests there is a source of poison in the area which cats have ready access to.
“Although we can’t confirm what type has been used, in our experience the most common source is antifreeze.
“We do not know whether the poisonings are the result of a deliberate act or an accidental spillage, so we are appealing to local residents to contact us if they have any information.”