Pet owners have been warned after five cats were killed in a suspected anti-freeze poisoning in Padiham.
RSPCA inspectors say the animals died in the space of a week and believe they may have ingested the common chemical which can be fatal.
The cat deaths all happened around the Albert Street area of the town and now officials from the animal welfare charity have launched an investigation.
Fears are the cats may have been poisoned maliciously and the RSPCA is appealing for information from residents.
Natalie Taylor, of the RSPCA, said: “We have had a number of calls from cat owners and I have spoken to the local vet in Padiham and they have had cats in every other day with suspected anti-freeze poisoning.
“There have been five cats in just seven days.
“We want to warn people who have cats that go outdoors to be careful. If they see symptoms or think their cat may be ill they should take them straight to the vet.”
She believes that it could prove to be anti-freeze poisoning following blood test results on the dead cats.
She added: “We cannot say for definite yet. Nine times out of ten people are using this to poison cats. Nobody is using anti-freeze in summer so it is less likely to be an accident.
“Anybody who is caught poisoning them will be prosecuted.”
Louisa Graham, of Myerscough Vets in Padiham, said there had been several fatal cases of suspected anti-freeze poisoning through the doors in recent days.
She said: “We have had no confirmed cases but we suspect that there has been poisoning. We have had otherwise healthy cats which are unco-ordinated and when I listen to their hearts they are slow. It is awful.
“By the time they present the clinical signs the damage is already done and it is irreversible. It is fatal in cats. Unless owners see the cats drinking it and they are taken straight to a vets.”
She said the signs of poisoning include the animal becoming unco-ordinated and appearing drunk, legs can go wobbly and they can vomit or appear drowsy.
Often affected animals will suffer seizures before going into kidney failure and die.
Louisa said: “It is normally more common in winter when people leave anti-freeze out in the garage.
“We want people to be more aware. If their cats are acting funny they should immediately take them to the vets.”
If anybody has information they can contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999.