A suspected cat killer is thought to have poisoned at least half a dozen pets in Preston.
Police are looking into six reports that cats in the Lea and Ingol areas have been deliberately targeted with anti-freeze over the last week.
The pets all had to be put down after becoming ill.
One heartbroken owner who lost two cats said neighbours were too afraid to let their pets out after the incidents. The 24-year-old mum, who asked not to be named, rushed her two young cats, one-year-old Smudge and 18-month-old Kitty, to the vet last week.
The vet revealed the cats had ingested anti-freeze and they were both put to sleep within 24 hours of each other. The woman’s friend is now offering a £200 reward to catch the poisoner.
The mum, of Greenfield Way, Ingol, said: “The cats must have eaten it outside. It takes a few days to take effect so they must have been poisoned last week.
“I had to tell my two daughters that their beloved cats had died. We are devastated.
“We are heartbroken. My 18-month-old little girl’s first word was cat.
“When she slept Kitty would sleep too and some heartless person has taken our lovely cats away from us.
“When the police turned up they said ‘Oh no, not again.’ People are living in fear, how could anyone be so cruel?
“I just hope the police catch whoever did this.”
She added she had previously lost another cat to poisoning and urged people to keep an eye on their pets.
Lancashire Police also urged pet owners to be on the guard and report any suspicious behaviour.
A spokesman said: “Enquiries are ongoing and we would urge residents to pay extra attention to the heath of their pets and to remain vigilant.
“Recently there have been six reports of cats falling ill and having to be put to sleep, possibly because they have been poisoned by something or someone in the local area of Lea.
“Specifically, the Sheffield Drive area (in Lea) appears to have been hit particularly hard.”
The RSPCA has urged residents and pet owners in the Ingol and Lea areas to act quickly and inform the police if they suspect their cat has been targeted.
A spokesman said: “If you are concerned that your pet may have been poisoned contacting your vet as soon as possible will give your pet the best chance.
“Signs could include depression, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, twitching or seizures.
“I would urge anyone with any information that might help to get in touch with the police.”
The issue was brought up in a recent Ingol PACT meeting.
Joan Wright, of Ingol and Tanterton Neighbourhood Council, condemned the ‘sick’ killer for upsetting families.
She said: “We have a PACT meeting on a Wednesday and this was raised.
“I don’t know how anyone can do such a thing – hopefully, the police will catch them.
“A little girl has lost her pet. It is disgusting some people just don’t care any more.
“How can you harm a defenceless cat?
“They aren’t just killing a cat; they are causing heartbreak to a family too.”
Call police on 101.