The Malta Independent 3 June 2020, Wednesday

Cat colony being poisoned at San Gorg Preca College

Mathias Mallia Friday, 13 May 2016, 07:51 Last update: about 5 years ago

The once vast colony of cats freely roaming the grounds of San Gorg Preca College in Blata l-Bajda has severely dwindled over the last three weeks as the vast majority of all the cats have seemingly been poisoned.

It has so far been confirmed by an autopsy done by Animal Welfare vets that a type of poison was used to kill the cats which resulted in the thinning of the animals’ blood, leading to internal haemorrhaging. The school assured this newsroom that any death after the police report is being immediately reported to the police. The case has also caught the attention of the office for the Commissioner of Animal Welfare.

Rita Buhagiar, one of the two volunteers who took on the laborious task of caring for the cats, came forward to The Malta Independent with further details. According to Mrs Buhagiar, out of 40 adult cats, 17 have survived so far while out of around 40 kittens, 7 are still alive. She told this newsroom that she is sure she will find one or two more dead today, at this rate.

She has been working tirelessly the last three weeks hand in hand with Animal Welfare taking a number of cats to the vet daily out of her own time. She also ordered an autopsy report on one of the cats on 7 May which gives more harrowing details of the cats’ suffering as they died.

The report stated that the particular cat had died after a “period of agony” with “blood and foam … pouring out of the mouth at the point of death.” Although an external examination proved that the cat was well-cared for, a number of organs, namely the stomach, intestines and bladder “appeared highly anaemic.”

Due to the blood-thinning agent used to kill the cats, a sample of blood taken from the cat “did not begin to clot within two minutes and did not begin to clot until at least 30 minutes had elapsed.” The lungs were also found collapsed. 

Currently all cats which seem weak or unwell are being caught and sent to vets for treatment and neutering. The school spokesperson said that all they want is to have a healthy colony once again. The school is even making sure to check all the feeders to make sure that the remaining cats have a healthy diet.

The cats were said to be an integral part of the school, many of which even had names and used to walk in and out of the classrooms at times. The spokesperson told us that the children and staff alike all care about the cats and are all disheartened by the lacking numbers.

A Magisterial Inquiry has been launched by Dr Audrey Demicoli after an official police report was made by the school once the numbers started accumulating at an alarming rate.


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