A veterinary nurse claims the RSPCA allowed a vet to put down two kittens needlessly.
Lucy Pauley fostered a pregnant cat from the animal charity which gave birth to five kittens, two of which were born with cerebellar hypoplasia, a neurological disorder which makes them lose their balance.
Ms Pauley, from Coventry, West Midlands, claims when she took four of the 12-week-old litter back to the RSPCA, kittens ‘Pumba and Diddy’ were put to sleep without her knowledge.
Although the charity says the animals were suffering, the 24-year-old claims both cats could have lived a ‘perfectly happy life’.
Ms Pauley took Pumba and Diddy to the RSPCA’s Coventry and District branch on August 8 for their second set of injections and to be neutered, before they were moved to one of the charity’s catteries while they awaited their permanent home.
Ms Pauley, who has kept kitten Alvin and the mother Sophie as pets, said: ‘I got a phone call from the RSPCA to say that Pumba and Diddy had fallen down one of the ramps in their outdoor areas due to being wobbly.
‘Before I had taken them in, Pumba showed only signs of a slight head wobble, and Diddy only showed slight shakiness when she got scared.
‘Their own vet had seen them and said they would live happy lives, but was off that week so they had new locum vets in.
‘The locum vet had said it was a welfare issue and they wouldn’t live good lives, so she put them to sleep.
‘I deserved a phone call so I could explain what had been going on, but although they said they tried to call me, the decision was already made without me.
‘The result of this miscommunication is that two kittens I had cared for since birth had been put down due to a condition the RSPCA had originally said was not life-hindering.’
She added: ‘The RSPCA is amazing as whole but this particular vet played God with two lives, and it’s not acceptable.
‘We wouldn’t do it to humans, so why are we doing it to innocent kittens?’
Dr Alison Richards, Field Veterinary Officer for Cats Protection, said: ‘Our approach to dealing with Cerebellar hypoplasia would vary – we would consider rehoming mildly-affected cats whose symptoms do not appear progressive but, if a cat is more severely affected, or has other developmental issues, then we may decide that a euthanasia decision is kinder on cat welfare grounds.’
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: ‘When two of the kittens first showed symptoms consistent with cerebellar hypoplasia we wholeheartedly hoped they would be able to be rehomed, like we have other cats with this condition. In fact, another kitten from this litter who showed milder symptoms of this condition was rehomed with a family.