This is little Darlene – one of four cats to die after a suspected poisoner struck in a Derbyshire town.
Police and the RSPCA are investigating after the animals died from kidney failure, which can be associated with ingestion of poisonous substances.
All of the cats lived at separate addresses in Newlands Drive and Berle Avenue in Heanor.
A resident called police yesterday to report the four apparent poisoning incidents.
Jane Richardson, of Berle Avenue, said her family is distraught after the death of Darlene.
The three-year-old was taken to the vets after she became lethargic.
Ms Richardson said: “We were shocked when the tests came back with kidney failure, which the vet said was symptomatic with poisoning. She was a young cat.
“We are absolutely devastated and I felt so sad when I heard that three other cats in the area had died in similar circumstances, particularly as we all live in such close proximity.”
Poisoning is a criminal offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The maximum penalty for those found guilty of this offence is up to six months imprisonment. They could also face a fine of up to £20,000.
RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe said: “The RSPCA is always deeply concerned to hear about suspected poisonings.
“Animals are often extremely curious and will be drawn to food.
“We would advise cat owners to regularly check their pets and be extra vigilant.
“If they see any of these signs – sleepiness, vomiting, seizures, dehydration, breathing difficulties, not eating or appearing drunk and uncoordinated – then they must seek veterinary help immediately.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or the RSPCA’s information line on 0300 123 8018.