An owner whose cat died from suspected antifreeze poisoning has joined Cats Protection’s campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of the product to cats.
Eighteen-month-old Missy is thought to have swallowed antifreeze near her home in Skipton, North Yorkshire, before becoming severely unwell.
Her distraught owner Ann Bolland said: “I realised something was wrong when Missy seemed a bit subdued one morning, and within the hour I could see she was going downhill. I got her to the vets quickly but it was too late, her body had begun shutting down. She was disorientated, her organs were failing and the vet said all the signs were pointing to antifreeze poisoning.
“Within a few hours, she had to be put to sleep. Her deterioration in such a short time was absolutely horrific to witness – she had been a healthy, energetic and lively cat, and suddenly she was gone.
“The day before had been a bright, sunny February day with a heavy frost forecast, so I think she had somehow come across it when someone was topping up their car with antifreeze. I had no idea of the risks to cats of antifreeze and I would urge anyone using it to be extremely vigilant that there are no cats around. Losing Missy in such a traumatic way has had a huge effect on me, I’m a huge animal lover and have always owned pets, but I’m not sure I can bring myself to have another.”
Cats Protection, the UK’s largest cat charity, is campaigning for better labelling of the product and has urged owners to be vigilant if their cats have access to garages or sheds where it may be stored.
Madison Rogers, the charity’s Senior Advocacy & Government Relations Officer, said: “Antifreeze contains a substance which is particularly harmful to cats and can prove fatal if ingested, as it seems was tragically the case for Missy.
“It only takes a spillage on the driveway or a cat walking through a puddle and then grooming its fur for the poison to be ingested. This quickly affects a cat’s kidneys, with damage sometimes so severe that the cat may not survive.
“This summer, we’d urge owners to make sure any stores of antifreeze in sheds or garages are securely kept away from cats. And anyone doing checks on their vehicle should be mindful of how dangerous antifreeze can be for cats, so it is important to wipe up spillages immediately and not leave bottles on the driveway unattended.
“Many motorists are completely unaware of how dangerous antifreeze can be, and we’d like to see better labelling on products. Such a simple measure could help prevent the deaths of many cats and save their owners the ordeal of seeing their beloved cat suffer.”
This year Cats Protection’s advocacy work is being supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Stephanie Kerr from the charities team at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “As a cat owner myself, I’m very pleased that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting Cat Protection’s advocacy work on these issues. None of us want a pet or any other animal to become ill or suffer when it can be easily avoided by raising awareness of the dangers of common household products.”
To find out more about the dangers of antifreeze, please visit Cat Poisoning Symptoms and How to Spot It | Cats Protection