An investigation is under way after five cats died and two disappeared in the same area in South Lanarkshire.
The incidents have all happened in Biggar, mainly centred on Elphinstone Crescent, over the last three months, with the latest death on Monday.
Three of the cats that died were involved in road traffic accidents and the other two deaths were determined inconclusive after a post-mortem.
Fears are growing that cats could have been deliberately targeted and pet owners are now being warned to be vigilant of any potentially toxic or poisonous substances that could be causing harm.
Four of the dead cats lived on Elphinstone Crescent, Biggar, with the fifth a regular visitor to the area, and one the missing cats also lives there.
The Scottish SPCA is now investigating the suspicious deaths, the most recent discovered on Monday morning, after a concerned neighbour called its animal helpline.
And they believe the roaming nature cats make them more vulnerable to dangerous substances dumped locally.
The animal welfare charity’s inspector Dawn Robertson said: “This has been an incredibly upsetting and stressful time for the owners of the cats and we would like to get to the bottom of what has happened.
“It is very unusual to have five cats pass away and two be missing over such a short space of time. The most recent deceased cat was discovered only this morning.
“Three were involved in road traffic accidents and the other two deaths were determined inconclusive after post-mortem.
“It might be that there is a substance somewhere local that is causing the cats to be poisoned or become confused which has caused them to wander on to the road.
“We would urge everyone to be vigilant with their disposal of any toxic substance, such as anti-freeze, that can be poisonous to cats and other animals. It is essential that everyone stores substances out of reach.
“Alternatively, and we hope this is not the case, this could be a deliberate attempt to harm, or kill, these cats. Anyone using any method to cause injury on purpose is committing an offence and is punishable by law.”
“We are urging anyone with any information to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”