There a fears a serial cat killer could be at large after six moggies from the same street have been poisoned in the last month.
Five of the animals, who all lived in King Edward Street, Wirksworth, died as a result of poisoning, and another recovered.
One cat owner, who lives on King Edward Street and did not wish to be named, commented: “For somebody to purposefully go out and poison an animal is disgraceful.
“You get a lot of people who don’t like cats because they are avid gardeners or they like birds, but a cat’s got as much right to live and be allowed to go outside as a vegetable has got to grow.”
The latest victim was a black and white cat called Freddie, who died last week.
His owner, Donna Greenhough, said: “It started on Wednesday, he hadn’t really eaten much. On Thursday he didn’t seem to be eating at all, so I kept him in all night and put a litter tray at the side of him.
“When I woke up on Friday morning he hadn’t’ gone to the litter tray he had just wet himself, so I took him to the vet.”
The vet noticed Freddie’s breathing was erratic and his kidneys were enlarged, which was put down to toxins being in his system. He was kept in for observation, but died later that day.
“It just happened so quick,” Donna said. “He wasn’t even a year old.
“He would walk up to anyone, he wasn’t shy.
“The thing I was most worried about was telling my 13–year–old daughter Shannon that he’d died.”
The 30–year–old is now afraid to let her other cat, Tigger, outside out of fear that he too will be poisoned.