Penrith estate “cat poisoner” fears

Date: Friday 18th August 2017
Paula Armstrong and daughters Milly (left) and Paula with Troy. They are convinced the cat has been poisoned.
Paula Armstrong and daughters Milly (left) and Paula with Troy. They are convinced the cat has been poisoned.

A PENRITH family have been left heartbroken after their cat is thought to have been poisoned in a spate of similar incidents in the Scaws area of the town.

Over the past three weeks at least six cats are believed to have been poisoned deliberately in Hutton Hill, Brentfield Way, Roman Road and Pennine Way. Four animals have died and two more are seriously ill.

Paula Armstrong, who lives in Hutton Hill with her husband, Jason, and daughters Alice, aged 13, and nine-year-old Milly, is one of the owners affected.

The family’s cat, Troy, a seven-month old they got as a former stray from Eden Animal Rescue, is now seriously ill after they believe it was poisoned with antifreeze.

“Troy came home and wasn’t wanting to eat and we thought maybe he just wasn’t hungry. He just wasn’t himself so we kept him in. He became unsteady on his feet and was very stiff, so we took him to the vets. They did blood tests and said he had been poisoned with antifreeze,” said 44-year-old Paula.

Luckily the vets were able to save Troy and he recently returned home where the family are caring for him. The incident has left him seriously ill, though.

The antifreeze caused his kidneys to begin failing and he has been left with painful mouth ulcers.

Vets were forced to operate on Troy to fit a feeding tube in his neck and Paula is now having to feed him through it five times a day.

“We’ve got two children at home and they have been mortified by this. There’s been a lot of upset and crying. At first Troy would get very distressed when you had to feed him through the tube. It’s very hard for us. It hurts me to think that someone close to us would do something like this,” said Paula.

She explained that this is not the first time the family have suffered in this way. In January, 2016, their one-year-old cat, Poppy, died and vets at Frame, Swift and Partners in Penrith said they believed it was as a result of antifreeze poisoning. The sweet taste of antifreeze is attractive to cats and dogs.

“When Poppy was poisoned I could think it was an accident. It was January so it was cold and people were using antifreeze in their cars and I thought maybe someone had spilled it. But there’s been too many these past two to three weeks to think it’s an accident. I think it’s deliberate,” said Paula.

She added that a post had been put on Facebook about another cat being poisoned in Roman Road and she has been told that several other people have made contact to say the same has happened to their pets.

Another of the cat owners has launched an investigation trying to pinpoint where the animals had been, in order to work out where they might have been poisoned. Paula added that she also intends to report the matter to police.

Neil Frame, of Frame, Swift and Partners, said the use of antifreeze was an easy way to poison animals as they were attracted by its sweet taste. It causes tubular necrosis of the kidneys and there is no specific antidote. Animals affected have to be put on a drip as soon as possible to flush the substance out of the kidneys.

“People should never leave antifreeze where animals or children can get to it,” he said. “People have got to be careful when they say their animals have been poisoned as it can often cause a witchhunt.”