A pet owner who believes her cat and four other felines belonging to a neighbour died of antifreeze poisoning is warning others to be vigilant.
The 58-year-old woman, who wished to remain unnamed, said vets confirmed that her beloved black and white cat Max, a two-year-old Tuxedo, had ingested the toxic substance.
The woman, who lives in Marlborough Road, Uxbridge, said she first noticed Max was behaving strangely – demanding more care and attention than usual – on Monday, March 23.
She took him to a veterinary practice and then to the RSPCA’s Putney Animal Hospital, in Clarendon Drive, where Max was put on a drip.
She said: “They told me there was a good chance they could reverse the effects, but unfortunately he took a turn for the worse overnight and all his organs shut down one by one.
“In the end I was told there was nothing that could be done but to put him down.”
Two weeks earlier, a neighbour living in nearby Nelson Road, which joins onto Marlborough Road, had four cats die of suspected antifreeze poisoning within days of one another, according to the woman.
She said: “I honestly don’t think it’s been done deliberately. I think it is a tragic accident.
“I reckon someone disposed of something that’s used in car maintenance that had antifreeze on it.
“I think it was down to someone being irresponsible.”
She went on: “I would like to warn people that this has happened, but also get a warning out to people who aren’t pet owners and aren’t aware of how toxic antifreeze is – even a child or an adult, if they touch it and put it in their mouth, it can cause kidney failure and brain damage if it’s ingested.”
The RSPCA says pets are killed every year by accidental poisonings from spills and water coolant leaking from cars.
The organisation advises motorists to regularly check their cars for leaks, as well as to store antifreeze and water coolant in clearly labelled bottles and clean up any spills immediately.
The symptoms of an animal consuming antifreeze can include vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing drunk and uncoordinated, seizures and breathing difficulties.
Anyone who suspects their pet has come into contact with antifreeze or water coolant should take them to a vet immediately.