HEARTBROKEN cat owner Maxine Davies fears deliberate poisoning with antifreeze is behind the deaths of four of her pets in little more than a week.

Since September 20 the mother-of-two from Monnow Way, Bettws, Newport, has been a regular visitor to the vet, where her cats have been found to be so poorly they have had to be put down.

Now she has called in the RSPCA to try to solve the mystery.

"It started on (Saturday) September 20, out of the blue," she said.

"The vet confirmed it (was due to antifreeze), but I could smell it anyway. I had two cats put down in July last year because of the same thing.

"Antifreeze is sweet-tasting to cats, but it causes terrible damage and pain, shuts down the kidneys, liver and other organs."

The source of the problem is unknown, but Mrs Davies is convinced the poisonings have been deliberate and that bait, possibly chicken, has been laced with the substance.

"One cat was the mother of two-week-old kittens. You could get hardened to it, but really it's very upsetting," she said.

Two of Mrs Davies' cats have survived - 17-year-old Fluffy and 15-year-old Ronaldo.

"It's difficult keeping them inside, but that's what I'm trying to do. It's the only way I know they'll be safe."

RSPCA Cymru is urging anyone with any information to contact it in confidence on 0300 1234 999.

"Poisoning a cat deliberately 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 and/or a fine of up to £20,000," said a spokesman.

For more information, visit www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/cats/health/poisoning