Northern Ireland

Dead cats may have been poisoned in Mallusk

Police are investigating whether a number of cats were poisoned in Mallusk on the outskirts of north Belfast.

One cat died last month and another two died in the past week at Hydepark Manor. A post-mortem examination on one of the animals found anti-freeze.

Up to six other cats on the street became ill but recovered.

A police spokesman said: "Officers are keen to establish if the suspected poisonings are deliberate and are appealing for information."

Julie Blair is the owner of two of the cats who died.

"Not everyone likes cats, and the only thing we can presume is someone doesn't like them in their garden," she said.

She discovered one of her cats dead at home last Friday and took him to the vets because he had shown no previous signs of illness.

"Panzer was a big healthy rescue cat who was two and a half years old," she said.

"The vets were confident that either intentionally or unintentionally he'd been poisoned.

"By Sunday evening, one of my other rescue cats, a 10-month-old kitten called Pusses, became very ill.

"By Monday his kidneys were so badly damaged by anti-freeze that he had to be put to sleep."

She said when she mentioned this to a neighbour, she found out his cat had died in a similar spate of poisonings the week before.

"It was only after my two cats died that we put our heads together and realised that someone might be poisoning the cats," she said.

"It's a lovely place to live, and normally if someone doesn't like cats in their garden, what they would do is squirt them with a waterpistol and they move on, but obviously that's not enough for someone."