CAT lover Kim Smith is devastated after watching four of her pets fall ill and die when they were poisoned by lilies.
The 49-year-old was distraught when her first cat Smudge died of a mysterious illness last year.
But the loss of three more in quick succession left her in a state of despair.
She only discovered the cause after taking nine-month-old Ebony Spooks to the vet four weeks ago.
‘When I took her, he asked me if he had been near anti-freeze or lilies,’ she said.
‘At first I thought it might have been the anti-freeze as they can get out through the cat flap.
‘But when I was searching for my other cat, I suddenly saw all these lilies in a neighbour’s garden.
‘I’m angry but this is more about getting people to know that lilies can kill – people aren’t aware of this.’
Now Miss Smith, of Harleston Road, Wymering, is trying to raise awareness about the dangers lilies pose to cats, along with her neighbours Donna Holmes, 30, who has lost four cats, and Erin Searle, 32, who has lost one.
The cats became lethargic after either eating the garden plants or licking pollen from their fur.
They are lethal to domestic cats, killing them in days if left untreated.
In an attempt to stop her cats getting out into the neighbourhood, Miss Smith has taken to blocking the gate to her front garden.
‘Any part of lilies are poisonous – I found one in my garden and someone took it out for me,’ she said.
‘My cats are my family, I’d rather have cats than humans in my house.
‘They give me something to sit and watch, I haven’t got any children.
‘It’s nice to watch them play and smile.’
Two of Miss Smith’s cats, Smudge and Ebony Spooks, are buried in her back garden, alongside tributes to her other cats Simba and Treacle.
Sue Burden, head nurse at Highgrove Veterinary Surgery, in London Road, Cosham, said: ‘We’ve had a few cases in – it can happen. Many owners aren’t actually aware of it.’
Most people do not know that lilies are dangerous and can poison cats.
If cats eat the plant or clean their fur after getting its pollen on them they become lethargic and could start vomiting and drinking more.
There is no guarantee a cat will recover after being in contact with the plant – it can cause death in just three days.
Anyone that is concerned about their cat is advised to take them straight to the vets, but are also warned that similar symptoms are shown if the animal is tired. Veterinary nurse Sue Burden said: ‘Some cats do eat them. It’s best to contact your vet straight away.’