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Investigation launched into serial cat killer after five pets die on same street

The animal charity says pets should be taken to the vet straight away if you think they've been poisoned. Photo: MEN Syndication

Five cats have died on the same street after being poisoned.

The RSPCA, which is investigating, is warning pet owners to be vigilant.

Two tabby cats belonging to Natalie Bond, 29, became ill and died in almost identical circumstances.

When her 12-year-old cat Tilly died following a seizure on July 6 Natalie put it down to old age.

But the next day she discovered her cat Peppa was weak and lethargic.

At first Natalie thought her cat had died from old age before another of her pets fell ill the next day. Credit: MEN Syndication

Peppa, a completely healthy three-year-old cat who had given birth to kittens in April, later died after having a seizure.

When Natalie took her to the RSPCA she was told that it was ‘very likely’ that she was poisoned but they could not say for sure if the attacks were deliberate or accidental.

She said: “When it happened to Peppa we knew straight away something wasn’t right.

“We’ve no idea how it’s happened, there are so many things that are toxic to cats. But it’s just devastating. My daughter has been so upset.

“You just don’t want to believe someone could do something like that deliberately. But it’s very, very worrying.”

They were two of five cats taken ill in a matter of days, making six in total since the turn of the year that have mysteriously died on Balcarres Road in Aspull, Wigan.

The RSPCA says it is extremely concerning that so many cats have been reported as dying from poison in the same area of Wigan. Credit: MEN Syndication

Claire Gibbons, 39, also lost two of her cats. When her 18 year-old black cat Charlie died on New Year’s Day she thought it was due to old age.

But she became suspicious when her eight-year-old tabby Tilly fell ill and passed away despite being rushed to the vets.

It was the same day that her neighbour Natalie’s cat died.

Claire, who has lived on the street for 18 months, is now so concerned for the welfare of her other cat that she is considering giving him away.

She said: “It’s just heart-wrenching to think someone might be doing this to these pets.

“They are part of people’s families.

“It’s just so strange to have so many in such a small area.

“It makes you think that someone might be deliberately poisoning them.

“I’ve got another cat and I’m scared to let him out of the house. I’m considering letting him go and live with my daughter.”

Six cats have mysteriously died on Balcarres Road in Wigan Credit: MEN Syndication

Joanne Seddon lives on the same street. Her black cat Hagrid died the following Sunday, July 9, after suffering multiple seizures at home which she says was ‘awful to watch’.

A sixth cat was also found dead in the garden of a house this week. However, it is thought this may to due to old age and not related to the posionings.

The RSPCA is now urging people nearby to ensure pesticides are kept out away from areas cats might roam and that chemicals are not leaking from their car radiators.

A spokeswoman said: “It is extremely concerning that so many cats have been reported as dying from poison in the same area of Wigan in the last week. We are now in the process of making enquiries and would urge anyone with information about this to call us, in strictest confidence.

“We do not know for sure if these were accidental incidents or deliberate but in the meantime we would ask for everyone in the area to check where they keep their pesticides and chemicals including antifreeze and make sure it is secure and out of the way of cats. People should check their car radiators for leaks too.

“Signs of poisoning can be seen anything from 30 minutes after a cat has ingested the chemical, though it can be two or three days before signs of kidney failure are seen.

"The signs of poisoning can include one, or several of the following: vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing drunk and uncoordinated, seizures, and difficulty breathing.

“We would like to ask everyone in the area to keep an eye on their cats’ well being and if they are showing symptoms of poisoning get them veterinary treatment immediately.

“If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned you should take it to a vet immediately. If possible, you should take a sample of what the cat has eaten/drunk, or the container. Find more information and advice here.”

Anyone with information is asked to call RSPCA’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018 and reference Inspector Susie Micallef.