Pets at Home defends vet who put down family’s cat after it was mistaken for a stray

Pets at Home has defended a vet who put down a family's pet cat after it was mistaken for a stray.
Pets at Home has defended a vet who put down a family's pet cat after it was mistaken for a stray.
  • Family pet mistaken for stray and put down
  • Newtownabbey girl is left ‘devastated’
  • Story sparks outcry on social media
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Pets at Home has defended a decision by one of its vets to euthanise a cat which was taken to its Newtownabbey store after being mistaken for a stray.

Local woman Julie Neeson posted details of the tragic incident on Facebook earlier this week, sparking a huge reaction from animal lovers across Northern Ireland and beyond.

The cat was brought in and presented as a stray by a concerned and sympathetic member of the public who recognised that he was not well. Our vet carried out a full medical examination as we do with all animals brought to us.

Pets at Home

She explained how the cat, her family pet of 15 years, was mistaken for a stray by a neighbour who took it to the in-store vet at Pets at Home, Longwood Retail Park where it was put down a short time later.

Alongside a picture of her 10-year-old daughter saying her final goodbyes to her beloved pet, Julie hit out at the actions of the Pets at Home vet, branding the decision to euthanise her cat “an absolute disgrace” and telling how the incident had left her daughter “devastated.” She later posted that her family were “heartbroken” by what had happened.

Responding to public criticism of the decision to euthanise the family’s pet, a spokesperson for Pets at Home said that the vet had been “acting in the best interests of the cat.”

“At Pets at Home we always put pet welfare at the heart of everything we do. Stray animals are frequently brought to our vets and they always receive a full clinical examination. We will always try to rehome them whenever appropriate,” he commented.

“The cat was brought in and presented as a stray by a concerned and sympathetic member of the public who recognised that he was not well. Our vet carried out a full medical examination as we do with all animals brought to us.

“Our vet has over 12 years’ experience and quickly diagnosed that the cat was in the end-stages of chronic renal failure. He had clearly suffered from this condition for a number of years and was unfortunately untreatable. He was not wearing a collar, and was scanned for a microchip but none was found. Unable to identify the owners and with the cat suffering, he made the difficult decision to put him down.”

The spokesman added: “We completely understand the family’s response and it’s never easy to lose a beloved pet. Our vet is very experienced, fully qualified and was acting in the best interests of the cat. We’d like to express our sympathies to the family at this difficult time.”