‘Poisoned cats are likely to have been killed deliberately’

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The deaths of four pet cats in the Henryville area of Ballyclare over the past few weeks are likely to have been the result of deliberate poisoning, a local vet has said.

Police revealed this week that they are investigating the recent deaths of four pets in the Henryville Manor area of the town.

While they said that local vets have confirmed that the cats were poisoned using alpha chloralose - a substance usually used to kill rats and mice - officers have stressed that “the deaths may be totally accidental.”

However, vet Alan Gordon, who works at Clare Vets, which dealt with one of the poisoning cases two weeks ago, says it’s likely that the cats were poisoned deliberately.

“Alpha chloralose is often used by pigeon fanciers and people who keep birds to keep rats and mice away from the birds’ food or away from them when they’re nesting. Unfortunately we occasionally see it used by some people to poison cats,” he told the Times.

Explaining why he thinks the cats were deliberately poisoned, Mr Gordon added: “It’s very hard to poison a cat. They’re very fastidious and careful about what they eat - not like dogs who’ll eat anything. So when a cat is poisoned in this way it’s usually deliberate. It’s likely that someone has gone out of their way to make the poison attractive to the cat by using a bit of cat food of something. In cases like this the poisoning is not likely to have been accidental.”

Mr Gordon said it’s likely that someone has been trying to poison a specific cat, but that the “indiscriminate” method used has led to the deaths of other animals.

“It’s not something we see regularly thankfully, but every couple of years we tend to see a cluster of poisonings,” he added.

Anyone with information which they believe could help the police in their investigations is asked to contact Constable Willie Dynes at Newtownabbey Police Station on the new non-emergency number, 101.