A young boy has been left devastated after his autism therapy cat died from suspected antifreeze poisoning.
Beloved pet Percy started frothing at the mouth and having seizures after being let outside his home in Barry on Wednesday.
His owner Mathys, who has autism, had formed a special bond with the five-year-old moggy.
Mathys’ mum Caroline Venter said her boy was absolutely devastated by the loss.
“It was a very traumatic experience for us all, but Mathys’ is especially upset by it,” she said.
“It all happened so quickly, he passed away in the back of the car on the way to the emergency vets – I could hear Mathys shouting ‘he’s stopped breathing’.
“It’s left a huge hole in his life.”
Mother-of-two Caroline, whose nine-year-old daughter Elmari also has autism, said Percy was like part of the family.
She added: “Children with autism find it easier to connect with animals rather than people sometimes so Percy was really important for him to be social.
“Bed time was quite a sticking point for us and so Percy would go and lie down on his feet, when he was getting worked up then he would talk to Percy and stroke him to calm down.
“Seeing both my children upset like that, it’s not an image I’ll forget.”
She added: “Grief is a really difficult thing for people with autism to process. It was all so sudden, it does make it that little bit harder – you know, we were expecting another 10 years with Percy.”
Caroline is now urging people to be mindful of the damage that chemicals like antifreeze can do to animals.
“I really hope it was just somebody being careless rather than somebody having intentionally done this.
“If people are using chemicals then they just need to be really careful. If it’s getting into puddles or any water then less than a teaspoon can kill a pet.”
“Somebody is obviously not being careful with how they handle chemicals, I’d just say I people need to be aware of how dangerous it can be.
“It’s not just pets too, animals out in nature like foxes and birds could be really affected too.”
Earlier this year, the RSPCA issued a plea after three cats were suspected of being poisoned in Skewen, Swansea.
The RSPCA said poisoning cats is criminal offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
On it’s website, the charity said: “The maximum penalty for anyone found guilty is up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a £20,000 fine.”
The RSPCA has given advice to pet owners in order to spotting whether their pet has been poisoned.
“If you suspect your pet has come into contact with antifreeze, leaked water coolant or if showing any of these symptoms get them to a vet immediately:
- Seeming depressed/sleepy
- Appearing drunk and uncoordinated
- Seizures (fits)
- Difficulty breathing
Signs of antifreeze poisoning can show 30 minutes after ingestion. It can be two/three days before signs of kidney failure are seen.
The sooner your pet receives veterinary treatment, the better their chances of survival.
If left untreated, antifreeze poisoning can cause pain, suffering and distress and ultimately death.