With the temperature hovering only just above freezing and set to drop further over the next few weeks, many people will soon be reaching for the anti-freeze in the mornings for their car engine and windscreen.

But while this product might be very useful to car owners, it can be fatal to cats and other animals who are attracted to the liquid by its sweet taste.

Which is why a Milton Keynes vet is taking action to try and prevent such incidents occurring in the future by launching a petition for manufacturers to add a bitterant to their anti-freeze products so cats are less likely to drink them.

According to the Milton Keynes Citizen, Dawn Kent, practice manager at Willow Veterinary Care in Newport Pagnell, is aiming for the petition to reach 100,000 signatures - which would then see a bill put before Parliament.

"Cats find the taste of anti-freeze very sweet so they are attracted to drink it," she told the newspaper. "All we are asking is that companies add a bitterant to their products. For me it's a no-brainer."

So far this year the vet has already had to deal with fatalities that have occurred after felines have lapped up the poisonous liquid.

"Cats sit under cars to stay warm or avoid traffic," Dawn added. "They drink the anti-freeze and the effects are so quick that by the time the owners have noticed it could be too late."

Although there is little owners can do to keep their feline friends away from all anti-freeze, it is important to take certain precautions such as storing any poisonous products in the house away from the cat food and out of reach of children and animals.

It is also a good idea to be aware of the symptoms of anti-freeze poisoning - which include vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing 'drunk' and uncoordinated, seizures, difficulty breathing, increased thirst or increased urination - so you can seek immediate medical attention for your pet should they display any of them.

Written by: Hannah