CHILDREN have been left heartbroken after their cats were mysteriously poisoned.

A Widnes vet has confirmed six cases in the past five days of pets consuming Ethlene glycol, known as anti-freeze.

A further 22 animal lovers from Hough Green, Halton View and the town centre claim their cats have been killed.

John Dinsdale, of Andale Veterinary Centre in Ditchfield Road, a vet for 30 years, said: "This is the most aggressive we have seen over a big area. We had two in the surgery on Monday night.

"It is absolutely barbaric, deliberately causing unnecessary suffering. It causes acute kidney failure, seizures and fits and death.

"It is very distressing to deal with. "

Mum-of-four Debby Cullen, aged 38, of Hargreaves Court found her pregnant cat, Mavis paralysed.

She said: "She was part of our family. The children are absolutely devastated.

"I have opened a cat safety group on Facebook and the feedback we have had is unbelievable."

Dad-of-two Richard Hughes, aged 33, of Cradley, discovered his cat, Fudge, dying on his doorstep on Monday.

He said: "It is a disgrace. I'd like them to come round and tell my eight-year-old daughter, Demi-Leigh and four-year-old son, Alex why they murdered their pet."

Mum Gaynor Hulme, aged 38, of Bishops Way , found her cat, Tom crying in pain.

She said: "He lay there paralysed. My son is broken hearted."

RSPCA spokesman Andy Robbins said: "The RSPCA is deeply concerned and extremely saddened. Poisoning a cat is criminal offence. The maximum penalty is up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to £20,000."

Sgt Neil Edgar of Widnes Neighbourhood Policing Unit, said: "If anybody has got any idea who is committing these horrible offences we will follow up any leads. It is a cruelty matter, criminal damage. We want to stop it but we need evidence."

Anyone who suspects their cat may have been poisoned is urged to call Cheshire Police on 101.