Police alert over poison after eight cat deaths on estate
POLICE are urging pet owners to be vigilant after a spate of mysterious cat deaths on a city estate.
Eight cats from seven houses in the Canterbury Walk area of Whitleigh have died with similar symptoms of sickness and lethargy in recent weeks. A further four have fallen seriously ill.
Anxious residents fear their pets are being poisoned.
Police said they do not believe the deaths are malicious. They are investigating whether pollution in a nearby stream, which runs through woodland behind the estate, could be the cause.
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Officers are also urging people not to leave any cans or bottles of chemicals which could harm family pets open outside.
PCSO Jan Cooper, of Whitleigh neighbourhood policing team, said: "We want to make people aware of the situation and let them know we are trying to do something about it.
"We don't believe it to be malicious. We believe it might be accidental.
"Police have contacted the Environment Agency and Plymouth City Council Neighbourhood warden to work together with local residents in the near future to get the river cleared up where it is believed the problem may occur. We believe it could be some form of pollution but we don't know.
"We are urging people, if they are not a cat owner, to be aware that cats are curious creatures and like to investigate. We want residents to be aware of the problem at present and not to leave outside any open cans or bottles or chemicals which could harm family pets."
Police were alerted to the issue on May 24. Households in Canterbury Drive, Honiton Walk and Newbury Close have been affected.
Resident Kelly Wallace, aged 27, said her six-year-old moggy Snoopy almost died of suspected poisoning last month.
She said: "I found him lying on the garden path. He was limp, couldn't walk and started fitting. He looked as if he was dying."
Snoopy survived after a night of intensive veterinary treatment. He is still recovering.
Vets reported he had suffered a brain inflammation and suspected he had been poisoned, but they could not confirm it without costly tests.
Cat owner Sarah Rundle, aged 34, of Honiton Walk, said residents are anxious. She has printed leaflets to warn of possible cat poisonings, which she has dropped through 150 doors on the estate.
Sarah has kept her two cats McCauley and Princess inside the house for four weeks after the death of several neighbours' pets.
"It has all happened in the last three months," she said. "At first we thought nothing of it but then the total of cats dying went up and up.
"There's a lot of stories and rumours going around. I think it's either someone doing it deliberately or accidentally. It's very worrying."
She said symptoms of ill cats include being sick, stopping eating and drinking, not being able to stand up and glazed eyes.
Anyone with information, or whose cat has died, can contact the neighbourhood policing team at email@example.com. Police logs relating the deaths are 344 of May 24 and 1029 of June 1.