Colony cats likely died from accidental poisoning

Photo by Capt. John Hocking, LASD

While the L.A. Sheriff’s Station on Catalina Island has not “officially” closed the case of the dying colony cats on Catalina Island, they have concluded that “it is likely” that they died from accidental poisoning.

Capt. John Hocking began an investigation into the incident after the Avalon City Council was notified of suspicious activity two weeks ago by the Catalina Island Humane Society.

Three “colony cats” had died under mysterious circumstances since Mother’s Day and island officials wanted reassurance that someone on the island was not intentionally killing the cats.

Hocking and his investigators spent the last couple of weeks performing an intense investigation into the incident, which he said was near the intersection of Falls Canyon and Country Club Drive.

There are a number of industrial businesses in the area as well as some old equipment and vehicles, Hocking said.

Hocking also interviewed the veterinarian involved in the cat autopsies and learned that at least two of them had died as a result of antifreeze poisoning.

Last week, Hocking said he had found some evidence that some businesses in the area use antifreeze in the general activity.

This week, he said investigators “walked every inch of the area” involved and interviewed more of the people involved.

“We could find no evidence that anyone on the island deliberately used antifreeze to poison the cats,” said Hocking. While that doesn’t necessarily mean someone did not, Hocking said he does not think anyone in the area did it and he said it is highly probable that it was accidental.

According to the website, cats have “highly developed senses so they can easily smell the strong scent coming from the antifreeze, especially from the main ingredient, ethylene glycol.

Also, the “flavor of the liquid is also highly appealing to cats. If they have the opportunity to lick it or drink it, they will.”

If a cat ingests antifreeze, “dehydration will be the least of your problems. Cat owners are urged to induce vomiting immediately and rush cats to a vet for treatment or the fluid can be fatal,” as islanders have learned.

Hocking said after the exhaustive investigation, the attraction of cats to antifreeze and the fluid’s presence in the area, “I’m leaning heavily towards accidental poisoning. The case is not closed, but that’s where we are at the moment.”


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