A heartbroken Morpeth family who lost two of their cats because of suspected poisoning have started a petition to call for a key measure that would help prevent such deaths.
And when they warned residents on social media, more than 10 other cat owners in the Kirkhill area said that their pets died after drinking anti-freeze.
The petition – which has 683 signatures so far, including from people who live in other countries – is calling on the Government to take action so toxic agent ethylene glycol is no longer used by anti-freeze producers.
It has been put together by Deborah Kerr and her daughter Sophie. Their cats Milo and Timmy died earlier this month.
The cats they still have, Belle and Lucy, are not being let out at all.
Sophie said: “When Milo returned home after being out he was vomiting, but we thought it wasn’t anything too bad as he has been sick before and then recovered.
“However, he kept getting worse as the day went on and we had to take him to the vets in the evening.
“He sadly passed away and urine tests found that he had drunk some anti-freeze.
“Timmy is an outdoors cat, so we looked for him once we collected Milo and we found him dead in woods near our house. He also had anti-freeze in his system.
“With another of our cats Thomas dying of old age in the summer, it has been devastating for the family to lose three of our cats in such a short space of time.
“When we heard from others in Kirkhill and elsewhere in Morpeth that have suffered in the same way on Facebook, we decided to start the petition.
“The toxic agent in anti-freeze is called ethylene glycol. It tastes sweet, so cats willingly drink it and it only takes a teaspoon to kill a cat.
“The deaths are slow and painful and wildlife such as hedgehogs and foxes will also drink it and die.
“However, after some research we have found that ethylene glycol doesn’t actually need to be used at all. There is a substitute called propylene glycol, which is not toxic to cats or wildlife.
“Also, in countries such as Canada and the USA, a bittering agent is added to get rid of the sweet taste, meaning cats and wildlife won’t drink it.
“We’re pleased with the support our petition has received so far and it’s incredible to see so many comments from people across the world.
“Hopefully, we will get many more signatures so we can put forward a strong message to the Government that companies which make anti-freeze need to use a different agent to ethylene glycol or make anti-freeze less tasteful to our animals.
“We’ve received excellent support for our vets, Robson and Prescott, and it has shared a poster about cat poisoning advice on its Facebook page.”
To see and sign the petition, click here