This writer has been taking care of some feral cats living here in Cheriton for the last few years. The count had been steady at around five, but that is now down to two. A few weeks ago, a kitten that had joined the group got very sick, and died within a day or so. It seemed odd—she was very healthy, fun, active and friendly. I couldn’t figure out what had taken her out so quickly. Then I became aware of other feral cat deaths down here, deaths that seem to indicate that someone is poisoning cats.
Below are just two accounts of abnormal cat deaths in Northampton County:
I have been taking care of the feral cat colony at Stingray’s Restaurant over the last 8 years sense I’ve been working there as a waitress. TNR (trap, neuter, release) rescuing sick kittens and having many tamed and adopted. I started a cat rescue Paws and Purrs in 2020 after relocating over 30 ferals to my neighborhood, having spayed and neutered and got the colony there to only 5 senior cats who have been there for many years. Just this year alone, several pregnant cats, kittens and other cats were dropped off, putting the colony back up to 30+ cats. I have recently started trapping again and trying to get kittens adopted. Last week I noticed a black cat ( whom had been vaccinated and spayed) laying on the ground shaking as she appeared to be having a seizure . When I picked her up, her belly was swollen, she was drooling and blood was coming out of her mouth and nose. Her breathing was very labored and she was lethargic. She passed away a few minutes later. I honestly didn’t know what to think other than maybe she got into something. The next day when I went out to feed, I had no idea what I would be walking into. My heart stopped when I saw them. Several laid out on the ground dead. Cuddled up and laying on top of each other. They all seem to have the same symptoms. Swollen belly , blood and liquid around them. I then knew instantly this had to be done intentional. 8 had passed away and their one was one still trying to hold on. Someone came and rushed them to the vet (while I was working) and the vet confirmed they had been poisoned. Over the years of their area not being cut, thorn vines and bushes grew around their houses and area. I didn’t see anything out in plan view so we decided to layer up with clothes and make our way through the thorns. In which we found rat poison poured around, a bag open of rat poison and bowls of rat poison and antifreeze. Shocked and in tears I then realized for sure that some sick bastard intentionally was killing my cats. I got rid of everything we could see and prayed no one else had gotten in to it. The next day 7 more had passed along with many ones that are still missing. I took home 2 kittens and one passed away. When I reported to animal control, they said I was the first to report and the first they heard of anything like this done. But as a cat lover and rescue I’ve had many report to me in the last couple months of many odd incidents, poisoned cats and abuse (sacrificing black cats) . My heart has been so broken over this disgusting tragedy for my cats and any other cats. I want so badly for this person to be caught and held responsible even if It takes all I got. I’m hoping as a community and getting the word out that we can catch whoever is doing this or at the very least scare them enough to know that we’re on to him/her/them to make them stop hurting these innocent animals. You don’t have to love them but let them be! They aren’t bothering or hurting anyone. I will continue to be their voice for as long as I live, they may not know yet, but they’ve messed with the wrong crazy cat lady!
This next account is from Amanda in Cheriton:
My name is Amanda. I don’t mind if you use it or not. I honestly have been trying to get it out for a while. My address is cherrystone rd in cape Charles (technically cheriton). Within 3 days, 3 of my cats were dead. Vet suspected antifreeze or some type of poisoning. From the first signs of symptoms, it was less than 24 hours before they would pass. I’ve since had 2 more die with the same symptoms. They stop eating, get really tired, and eventually become so weak their body just completely shuts down. It seemed quick but painful. They definitely suffered. And no matter how much I spent in vet bills, it wasn’t enough.
This is a serious crime. These Virginia statutes set forth Title 3.2, the Comprehensive Animal Care laws, which include the state’s anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions. For the purposes of Sec. 3.2-6570, the operative animal cruelty law, the section has a misdemeanor animal cruelty law as well as a felony provision related to torture or willful infliction of cruelty.
We are not sure what would drive someone to do this, but the cause is not our concern, the effect is. There is really no sympathy for for this form of sociopathic depravity. This is apparently a police matter, yet with shootings, drive-bys, influx of harder drugs, the Sheriff’s Department and State Police have a full plate. In essence, this is a community matter, and come will or come may, this needs to be handled within the community.