Couple issue alert after antifreeze kills pet cat

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A couple whose cat died from antifreeze poisoning are warning people about the danger to their pets from the chemical additive.

Dave and Mandy Barber returned from work to their home in Stamford last Monday to find “gorgeous, playful” pet Charlie looking lifeless.

As his condition got worse he was rushed to an emergency vet, who told the couple he had suffered antifreeze poisoning and needed to be put down.

Now the couple, of Burghley Road, Stamford say they are “heartbroken” and want to make people aware that antifreeze can kill cats and other animals.

Surgery dispenser Mandy, said: “Charlie came home in the morning, had a bite to eat and went to sleep.

“When we returned from work he had not moved from his bed, other than to be sick on the floor. He was lifeless and his breathing was very erratic.

“We tried to get him to drink some water and gave him some comfort hoping he would perk up a bit.

“But it became clear that something was seriously wrong.”

Charlie was rushed to the emergency vet at Youngs Veterinary Hospital in Peterborough and was told to leave him there for tests.

Within the hour the vet phoned Mandy and Dave, a manager at a call centre, to give them the bad news.

Mandy said: “He said Charlie could not be saved as his kidneys had all but given up and he was in a lot of pain. The only thing to do was to put him to sleep.It was heartbreaking.”

Charlie was brought home and buried in the garden.

The couple bought two kittens Charlie and Mr Tinkles, also now 18 months old, at the same time.

Mandy said: “Mr Tinkles misses him terribly. He goes and lies on top of where Charlie is buried.”

Antifreeze is used to lower the freezing point of a water-based liquid, most commonly in car radiators.

Vet Jeremy Young, partner at Youngs Veterinary Hospital, said:”Antifreeze is very palatable for cats. It takes very little to kill them, just a teaspoonful.

“The problem is that by the time cats show symptoms it is too late.”

Animals like its sweet taste and ingesting even the smallest amount can lead to kidney failure and death, especially in cats.

The RSPCA said they received 37 calls from people in Lincolnshire alone about antifreeze poisoning in cats in the last three years.

A spokesman said cats are attracted to the sweetness of antifreeze and urged vehicle owners to take care when storing and diposing antifreeze or water coolants.

He said: “At this time of year, when people are preparing for winter, topping up their cars with antifreeze, it can prove dangerous for cats if there are leaks to which they are attracted.”

The charity’s advice is to vehicle owners is to check for leaks of water coolant, clean up any spills immediately, store and dispose antifreeze and water coolant safely and responsibly. For details go to www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/cats/health/poisoning/antifreeze