DEVASTATED owners of cats poisoned on a West Lothian housing estate have launched a campaign for greater pet protection.
The Evening News reported on Monday how Carol Ferns’ black Tortoiseshell Precious was one of two cats which died after eating food thought to be laced with antifreeze.
Now the mother-of-two, from Livingston, has launched an online petition calling for firms to change ingredients in chemical products to deter cats from eating them.
“We had to say goodbye to our two-year-old Precious as she was put to sleep due to kidney failure and nervous system damage caused by deliberate antifreeze poisoning,” said Ms Ferns, 36.
“Our neighbours cat was also poisoned and passed away – this was their third cat to be poisoned we believe that these were targeted attacks.”
The petition has now been signed more than 1,300 times within days – closing in on the 1,500 signature target.
“I want companies that make poisons which cats find palatable to change the way they make their products to include something bitter and distasteful so that our cats aren’t drawn to eating food laced with poison,” said Ms Ferns.
Her 18-year-old daughter Rebecca has been left inconsolable after her pet Precious had to be put to sleep last Tuesday.
“She held the cat while she was put to sleep – she didn’t want to let her go,” said events organiser Ms Ferns.
The family’s four other cats, including Precious’ brother Elmo, are now being kept indoors for their own safety.
Police and animal welfare officers from the Scottish SPCA are now investigating the death of Precious and a neighbour’s cat just days before.
Ms Ferns has been tipped off by a worker at her local Asda that someone bought antifreeze because “they had a cat problem” – information she has now handed to police.
She said a post mortem confirmed vets’ fears that Precious had ingested antifreeze.
Animal welfare charity the Scottish SPCA said such cases are alarmingly on the rise – while poisoning can be accidental as well as sinister.
Scottish SPCA Inspector Jennifer Surgeon said: “We can confirm we have had a report of cat poisonings in Livingston. At this stage, our investigations are currently ongoing.
“Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in cat cruelty with a significant rise in cat poisonings.
“Cats are often victims of cruelty due to their free roaming and friendly nature.
“Poisoning can also happen accidentally so we advise people to be especially careful during the winter when they are using antifreeze to prevent poisonings caused by spillages.
“We would urge cat owners to be vigilant and anyone who witnesses anything relating to this call our Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.”
Anyone wishing to sign the petition can do so at: https://www.change.org/p/change-the-law-regarding-cats-their-status-health-care-and-protection?signed=true