By Cara Sulieman
A FIVE-year-old girl has been left heartbroken after her beloved cat was sickeningly poisoned to death.
Little Emily Rhodes spent three days thinking her cat Tigger had simply gone missing.
But he was found wailing in pain in a neighbour’s garden and died from suspected poisoning, despite the help of Scottish SPCA experts.
Not knowing who the cat belonged to, the neighbours gave Tigger over to the animal rescue officers, who cremated him before the Rhodes family had the chance to say goodbye.
Sue Rhodes, 36, and husband Chris, 32, posted fliers all over East Linton on Sunday the seven-year-old moggy failed to come home.
Then a couple on their street broke the news that a cat had died in their back garden the Friday before.
Hearing it screaming with pain, the pair had called the SSPCA who were unable to save the feline. With no tag, the charity went ahead and cremated the unlucky tabby.
But little Emily is putting on a brave face, as Sue, a staff nurse, explained: “She’s been really good about it. I’ve been more upset. I couldn’t say a word on Monday without bursting into tears.
“Emily did say ‘Mummy, I’m quite sad about Tigger.'”
The tomcat had no obvious injuries and the family is certain he was poisoned because there was an unusual amount of saliva around his mouth.
Now Sue wants to warn people about the dangers of putting poison down in their gardens.
She said: “The SSPCA said it would have been a short death but it must have been an extremely painful. I’m worried that our other cat, Blackie, will eat something too.
“I’m just so angry about the way he died. If Tigger had been hit by a car then that’s unavoidable, but there was no need for him to die like this. It must have been horrendous.
“People need to be aware of the danger they are putting cats and animals in when they use things like rat poison.
“I suggested keeping her in the house but it would just drive her mad. As my husband said, it’s better he has a short happy life than long miserable one.”
A spokeswoman for the SSPCA confirmed that Tigger’s symptoms may have been the result of poisoning, but warned that they couldn’t know for sure as no post mortem was carried out.
SSPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Cats that have been hit by vehicles can foam at the mouth as a result of their internal injuries.
“It is very upsetting when a much loved pet passes away, particularly when it happens suddenly.”