A HEARTBROKEN family fears a cat killer could be in town after losing three beloved pets in a matter of months.
Distraught Donna Werber was powerless to help the family’s cat Tyke on Sunday as he suffered an agonising death from suspected poisoning.
It is the third time this year that the Morpeth resident has witnessed such a cruel ordeal as first her pet cat Missy had to be put down after poisoning in April and three months later Missy’s kitten Sassy came home showing similar symptoms. The cat fled before it could be caught and has never returned.
“This was the most awful thing I have ever seen,” said Miss Werber.
“It is not a quick death and is really cruel, which makes it even more upsetting.
“When Missy came home and we knew something was wrong we took her to the vet, who said she had been poisoned. There was nothing he could do so she had to be put down. Then a couple of months later Sassy came in frothing at the mouth and distressed, but she ran off and never came back.
“When Tyke came in ill on Sunday, I knew straight away that something was wrong because he was frothing, banging his head off the wall and was just so frightened. He couldn’t breathe and died in my arms.”
Tyke was the family’s oldest cat after he was bought for Miss Werber’s daughter Karla as a present from her grandmother for her fifth birthday.
The 12-year-old and her three-year-old sister Brooke are devastated at the death of their last remaining cat.
And Miss Werber, of Abbots Way, Kirkhill, has vowed not to get any more while she is living in the area.
She said: “Karla is completely devastated about Tyke. Every time she sees his grave she gets upset. We have had him for so long. Brooke is also upset because she loved the cats.
“At first, we thought they were being poisoned further afield because Missy and Sassy would go anywhere, but Tyke was a big cat and never went very far so it must be happening locally.
“Since this has happened I’ve spoken to my neighbours and they say they’ve been through about seven cats, which have all been found dead.
“I appreciate that some people might get annoyed if cats go in their gardens, but there are other ways of dealing with it. Why can’t they just knock on people’s doors and ask them to keep their cats at home, not murder them?
“I certainly won’t get another cat as long as I’m living here.”
Miss Werber said that the cats’ suffering is bad enough, but the consequences would be even worse if a child came across the poison.
“If poison is being put down what would happen if a child touches it, or gets it from their cat? It could be really serious,” she said.
“A toddler could touch this stuff, then put their fingers in their mouth and have to go through what I had to see at the weekend.
“If this is being done deliberately then people really need to think about the consequences.”
Miss Werber has reported the deaths to the RSPCA. The charity has urged other residents in the area who have lost cats in similar circumstances to contact it on 0300 1234 999.
The poisoning of a cat could constitute a criminal offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Anyone convicted could face up to six months imprisonment and a £20,000 fine.