Slug pellets kill cat, family claim

PET owners and gardeners were today warned there could be a deadly killer lurking in their flower borders – putting animals and birds at risk.They were urged to be on their guard after a cat died from poisoning after eating tiny slug pellets put down to protect plants from one of the worst garden pests.

PET owners and gardeners were today warned there could be a deadly killer lurking in their flower borders – putting animals and birds at risk.

They were urged to be on their guard after a cat died from poisoning after eating tiny slug pellets put down to protect plants from one of the worst garden pests.

Owners of one-year-old Rosy were left distressed and shattered after she was suddenly taken ill after going out for an hour to explore.

Maureen and Peter Newman found the pretty Siamese-cross collapsed on their doorstep suffering fits and immediately took her to a vet, who said it appeared the cat had eaten slug pellets.


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"It was so distressing. To say we were shattered is an understatement," said Mrs Newman, of Trimley St Mary.

"We have always had cats but Rosy was quite the most affectionate we had ever had, always walking around purring – she seemed so happy and deserved a long and good life and the reason for her death seems so unnecessary.

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"You cannot stop cats from wandering and they will go off and mark their territory, but I just want people to know the dangers of these slug pellets.

"There are other more environmentally-friendly ways to kill slugs and I would urge people to try those instead of pellets."

Mrs Newman said Rosy was unable to use her legs and then started to have fits. She cuddled her and tried to keep her warm and the family rang the vet, who when she saw the animal diagnosed poisoning.

"The vet put on a drip and did everything possible but the poison had been absorbed into her central nervous system and there is no antidote. The next day when it was clear she would not recover, we had to allow her to be put down," she said.

Mrs Newman said the poison was Metaldehyde. It is used in slug pellets and is toxic to game, wild birds and cats, dogs and hedgehogs, with bran and sugar that was added making them attractive to eat.

She had visited garden centres and found most cans of slug pellets only warn in small writing on the back that they are harmful to children and pets.

"How can such a product be on the shelves of every garden centre and supermarket?" she said.

"According to information I found on the web, just one teaspoon of this chemical can kill a large dog, imagine how little is necessary to harm a small cat and what an infinitesimal amount is needed to dispatch a slug."

The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) has found a maximum of about a dozen cases a year, and sometimes as low as one, of Metaldehyde poisoning and its finding show incidents are thankfully rare.

What do think of slug pellets – has the death of Rosy made you think twice about using them? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLettters@eveningstar.co.uk

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