A resident of the Morse Memorial Elementary School area in Brooks is "heartbroken" after having three of her cats disappear in the last month and said she suspects someone is deliberately setting out poison.

A few weeks ago, one of Katherine Smith's cats became sick and died suddenly before the family could take the pet to a veterinarian. About three weeks ago, another one of her cats went missing.

"He's never been gone for more than two days, at most," Smith said. The cat remains missing.

And then, Monday, June 18, another cat suddenly became ill with symptoms similar to those of the first cat.

"We took him to the Brewer emergency vet where we spent the following five hours hoping to save him," she said.

Attempts to save the cat failed and the family decided to put him to sleep.

The veterinarian at the clinic said a lab report revealed a mixture of antifreeze and rat poison had been ingested by the animal.

According to the Poison Control website, anticoagulants are often used in rat poison and cats find this poison tempting. Anticoagulants are a type of blood-thinner that can cause spontaneous bleeding.

Symptoms of rat poison ingestion usually appear within two to five days and can include blood in urine, vomit and feces; bleeding in gums, nose, rectum, eyes and ears; and blood accumulation in the chest, which leads to labored breathing.

Antifreeze is equally tempting for pets, as it is sweet, and even a small amount can be fatally toxic to a cat's brain, kidneys and liver. Within a few hours the cat may vomit or drool and, within 24 to 48 hours, signs of kidney failure will develop, including loss of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, excessive urination, or no urination at all.

Waldo County Sheriff's Office does not have a crime report for the incident but Chief Deputy Jason Trundy said the department is aware of the situation.

Attempts to reach Brooks' animal control officer were unsuccessful.

In a Facebook post, Smith warned residents in the area to be wary that "someone is putting poison out in the town of Brooks."