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Leiston: Family’s anger at death of pet cat after antifreeze poisoning

PUBLISHED: 17:38 20 August 2013 | UPDATED: 11:18 21 August 2013

An animal-lover has handed back her adopted cat amid fears another pet was deliberately poisoned with anti-freeze.

Lizzy Hawson felt compelled to return 10-month-old Rufus to the RSPCA following the death of her other cat from the same litter.

Ragdoll cat Marmaduke died after ingesting anti-freeze somewhere in the vicinity of the Hawson’s Hill View home in Leiston.

It happened just 18 months after the family lost another cat to acute renal failure during a spate of suspected poisonings in the same area.

Mrs Hawson felt comfortable enough to adopt two cats from the RSPCA in April. But, returning from an evening shift at Aldeburgh Hospital last week, the mother-of-two found Marmaduke gravely unwell. She said: “My daughter had brought in the cats and my husband said Marmaduke was asleep.

“I found him looking very unwell. When he tried to get up, he just fell over. It was like he was drunk.”

Mrs Hawson was taken to the on-call vet in Melton but was so ill he had to be put down.

Tests showed the cat had ingested anti-freeze. The family have since taken the decision to hand back Rufus to the RSPCA.

Mrs Hawson said: “I was just so angry. We lost a cat last time it happened.

“I felt we needed to give back the other cat. It breaks my heart but I just can’t let him out of the house otherwise.”

Last January, at least six cats are understood to have died as a result of poisoning. Fears were raised at the time that someone was targeting the animals and that the anti-freeze was being used deliberately to cause harm.

Mrs Hawson said: “We can’t be certain it’s not just an unfortunate accident, but someone may be doing this deliberately. Either way, I want to get the message out there for people to be vigilant.”

Suffolk Police said its local officers were aware of the most recent incident, and of others in the area. A spokeswoman said: “We are asking anyone with information to come forward.

“Officers have leafleted in the area, asking cat owners to be aware.

“We are investigating and would urge anyone with information to call Aldeburgh and Leiston safer neighbourhood team on 101.”

Becky Fox, deputy manager of RSPCA Suffolk East and Ipswich branch, said: “There was a spate of cases last year and it seems to still be going on. This particular case was flagged to us because the poor cats were in our care originally.

“Unfortunately, we can’t tell whether or not this has been an accident. Whatever happened, it has done severe damage.

“It’s very serious and cats can have a very bad reaction to it, from vomiting and diarrhoea to fitting, neurological problems and potentially death.

“It’s very sad, especially as these cats came here after not having a good life but were adopted by a loving family who then had to come back for the cat’s welfare.”

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