Heartbroken boy’s cat Marshmellow put down after ‘mix up’ by RSPCA vets

A young boy is "not coping well" after his cat was unexpectedly put down by RSPCA vets.

Belinda Stevens took her family's kitten, Marshmellow, to an RSPCA hospital facility for treatment because the 11-week-old kitten seemed unwell.

"Well, I was at work and my son came down with Marshmellow, who was a bit unsteady on her feet," Ms Stevens told ABC Radio.

"The kids were a bit worried because they hadn't seen her like that before, but she had been like that before and made a full recovery.

"So I'd taken her down to the Wacol RSPCA, obviously to see what was wrong with her."

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She gave her details to the receptionist and handed Marshmellow over to the vet.

A few minutes later the vet returned and told Ms Stevens they had "put Marshmellow to sleep".

"I didn't even have probably two minutes, said Ms Stevens, “and the vet came back out

"I was thinking OK, they've obviously had to sedate her because they have to check her out, and I asked if I could go and see her out the back, and they said no, you have to go to the consultation rooms.

"And I was like what, as soon as I walked into the room and opened the door there was Marshmellow, dead.

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It later emerged that the vet had assumed Ms Stevens was a foster carer, rather than Marshmellow’s owner.

”The vet actually turned around and she said, aren't you the foster carers? And I'm like, what?" she said.

"She says, 'I thought you were the foster carers', and I said, 'no, this is my cat and you killed my cat'.

"Nobody really spoke to me after that, except for me grabbing my cat and walking out. It took me about half an hour in their reception area to get names and stuff so I could formally make a complaint.

"They say to me in phone calls that they definitely stuffed up.

"The only thing they're offering at the moment is free cremation or a free adoption later on down the track.”

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RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said the RSPCA believed it was necessary to put Marshmellow down but said the facts coud have been explained better to Ms Stevens.

"I can totally understand that Belinda is heartbroken. There's no doubt about it," he said.

"Basically what happened is, is our veterinary hospital at Wacol is not a public veterinary clinic. It is only for RSPCA animals.

"We really wish it could be a public clinic, but sadly we don't have the funds, so it is purely for RSPCA animals."

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He explained that clinic staff had mistakenly assumed that Ms Stevens was Marshmellow's foster carer.

He continued: "When Belinda brought Marshmellow in, the veterinary staff mistakenly assumed that Marshmellow was a foster kitten.

"All we can do, and we have done so, we've personally rung her and said how sorry we actually are.

"Undoubtedly in terms of the communication it's out fault — we should have checked to see if she was a foster carer.

"But in terms of Marshmellow needing to be put to sleep, we believe that any other vet would have done exactly the same thing."

He said that the clinic would be reviewing its procedures to ensure that this kind of mix-up would never happen again: "All I can say is, we're sorry."

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