By Bejay Browne
THE MUKTAH of a Paphos village has appealing to villagers to stop putting down poison following the death of a resident’s much loved pet cat.
“It’s not allowed and is so dangerous; I don’t want this to happen in our village and I’m asking people to stop putting down poison. I love animals and I have 20 cats of my own which have a special outdoor house and a large garden to play,” said Armou muktah Panikos Hadjitheoris.
His dog was poisoned in the village a number of years ago and he has repeatedly called on residents to stop putting down poison although incidents are on the decrease the practice continues.
Hadjitheoris was moved to make his latest appeal after one more poisoning has left resident Michele Howard heartbroken. Her much loved cat China died in minutes last Friday morning after being poisoned.
She said that the image of his contorted face has been hard to forget and caused her a number of sleepless nights. “Its left an imprint, he looked so awful and I felt helpless,” she said.
At around 5am on Friday China raced through the cat flap and under Howard’s bed. He was making a terrible wheezing noise, frothing at the mouth and experiencing spasms. She immediately recognised the symptoms of poisoning.
“I rushed to get the cat box to take him to our vet who is on 24 hour call. China was tearing at the carpet with his teeth and clawing at the walls. I managed to get him into the box and ran to get the vet’s number. When I got back he was dead,” Howard said.
The five-year-old neutered male was one of two cats Howard brought over with her from Kuwait. The second is a nine year old female cat which prefers to stay close to home, rather than wander around.
“China often enjoyed walking around the village, so it’s unclear where he may have picked up the poison,” she said. Howard has lived in Cyprus off and on for the last 30 years and previously lost a cat to poisoning around 20 years ago in Konia village.
Her garden leads onto the village square and she says she has found 15 or so dead animals in her garden over the years, many the victims of poisoning.
Hadjitheoris said he has been warning about the dangers of ingesting poison not only for animals but humans as well. “Imagine if a small child were to pick it up and eat it. I want this practice to stop, it’s important that it does,” he said.
Howard is calling on the police and the authorities to do something.
“I called the police but as China had already been buried and I don’t have a suspect they said there was nothing they could do.”
“It’s a problem for the police and unfortunately they don’t come. This is the case all over Cyprus,” Hadjitheoris added.
Just last week, police officers in Limassol appealed to farmers and land owners to be responsible with the use of pesticides and poisons used to kill rodents after a three-month old puppy, a cat and two hedgehogs were found dead from poisoning in Anogyra.