Vets have just phoned to let me know the cat who was admitted with suspected poisoning last night has been put to sleep as tests showed that his kidneys had stopped functioning. He was only three years old, and the only consolation is that at least we were able to prevent him dying slowly and in pain.
His owner paid £10 (all the cash she had). I hope that she will pay us back for the rest of the cost of emergency treatment, but obviously it's human nature that there's less incentive when the outcome is a dead pet rather than a live one.
What to do?
Ultimately the only solution is to mobilise the local pet-owning community to understand we can't keep providing services unless everyone helps by doing something, even if they can't do very much.