Update 3 p.m. —

Cornell issued a statement Monday afternoon noting that it’s still unclear if the cats were intentionally poisoned.

“We are highly suspicious of toxic exposure to a group of free roaming cats in Collegetown,” said Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, director of shelter medicine at the Cornell Vet College, in a statement.

“This could have been entirely accidental. There are several readily available pesticides on the market that could have been involved. Someone may have used them without intending to hurt the cats.”

The news release added that the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell, working with the toxicology lab at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, is investigating a possible case of cat poisoning in Collegetown.

“…Animal Control officers picked up four cats this weekend after calls from concerned Collegetown residents,” the statement said. “One cat was dead on arrival and the others exhibited severe neurological signs consistent with toxin exposure. There were no other signs of injury or illness, and the cats were in good body condition.”

“Dr. Berliner emphasized that the situation is limited to Collegetown. Area residents who are concerned that their own pets may have been exposed should watch them for profuse drooling, tremors, and unusual amounts of urination.”

“Any pet with acute illness should be seen by his or her veterinarian as soon as possible. If symptoms arise outside of business hours, the Cornell University Hospital for Animals offers 24-hour-a-day emergency services; bring the pet to the hospital at 930 Campus Road, Ithaca, NY or call (607) 253-3060 for more information.”

Earlier —

Update 12:45 p.m.: One cat is dead and four others have been affected by possibly intentional poisoning in Ithaca’s Collegetown neighborhood, 14850 Magazine reports. 

SPCA director Jim Bouderau told the magazine, “We are concerned that it is intentional, however it could be due to the disposal of chemicals toxic to cats accidentally, in or around their food source.”

The report says the cats are part of a colony that is cared for by people in the community.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Pets in Ithaca’s Collegetown neighborhood should be kept indoors when not supervised after several cats turned up with “symptoms pointing towards an intentional poisoning,” the SPCA of Tompkins County said Sunday night.

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The SPCA issued the “urgent message” to local pet-owners on its Facebook page around 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“If you have any information as to who might be behind this poisoning, please contact our humane investigators at (607)319-5067,” the post said.

Here’s the post in full:

AN URGENT MESSAGE: If you or anyone you know lives in the college town area of Cornell in Ithaca, NY, please be sure to keep your pets indoors when not supervised.

A number of cats have come in over the last couple of days with symptoms pointing towards an intentional poisoning. If you have any information as to who might be behind this poisoning, please contact our humane investigators at (607)319-5067.

If you see a cat who you think may have been poisoned, call the emergency phone at (607)592-6773.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.