Spate of fatal cat poisonings on same street

A spate of fatal cat poisonings on the same street has sparked a police investigation.

Pet owners in Swindon, Wiltshire, have been left 'devastated' after four cats died on the same night on Emerald Crescent in Blunsdon St Andrew.

The cats exhibited symptoms such as having seizures, 'frothing' at the mouth and becoming 'freezing cold', the Swindon Advertiser reported.

The first cat, Betty, who lived with her owner Kate Blackford, 43, fell ill at 11.30pm on Friday night and was rushed to a vets where she had to be put to sleep.

By 11.30am the following Saturday, three more had died - prompting an RSPCA investigation alongside Wiltshire Police.

Kate said: 'I went to the back door and she was making awful noises, heavy breathing and her tongue was hanging out, she started to fit.'

She rushed Betty to the local emergency Vets Now practice, but she could not be saved and was put to sleep.

After returning home at around 2am, her neighbour Sarah Jane-Webb, 33, asked her to come and look at her cat, Chase, because something was wrong with him.

Kate was able to confirm that Chase was showing the same symptoms as Betty and urged Sarah, a veterinary receptionist, to take him to the vets immediately - but it was too late for him as well.

Sarah said the vets believed the cause was a fast-acting toxin and ruled out rat poison.

Kate later realised that her other cat, Simba, was missing - finding him also dead in the garden from the unexplained poison.

Meanwhile, just doors away, another neighbour Harri Thompson, 31, had gone out to get in her laundry - inadvertently letting her cat Nala out.

Thinking nothing of it she went to sleep expecting to be woken up by Nala wanting to come back in at 3am as usual, but instead woke up around 7am with messages on her phone about what had happened to the others.

She began looking for Nala, and found her alive but in a bad way in her garden. After being taken to a vet, she was also put to sleep because of her condition.

Harri said: 'She was frothing at the mouth, freezing cold, and her paws were bent back so she was walking on her wrists.

'I then got a call at around 11.30 from the vets to tell me that her ribs had been broken and that they didn't think she'd been hit by a car.'

All three affected homes were within sight of one another on the same road - leaving the neighbourhood 'deathly quiet'.

A police spokesperson said: 'Cat owners in Blunsdon St Andrew, North Swindon, are being asked to keep a close eye on their pets following a series of poisonings in the area.

'We have received reports of a number of incidents in which cats in Emerald Crescent have been poisoned and sadly died.

'We have started an investigation and are working closely with our partners at the RSPCA to work out what has happened.'