Julie Abbott has no idea why anyone would want to poison her pets.

When her young children went to let the cats out of their run in the garage on Monday morning and found them having violent seizures, she thought they must be sick.

She rushed them to the vet, but too late.

Two of her four cats died, one on the operating table. The third was left blind with possible brain damage, and the fourth very sick.

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A post-mortem later found they had been poisoned, and the symptoms looked like it was 1080 poisoning.

Ms Abbott is a small-time breeder of Ragdoll cats, and said her cats were part of the family.

She had no idea why someone would want to poison them.

"I've had no issues with my neighbours and I've never been broken into. If someone had an issue with me, why not put a letter in my mail box, don't hurt my animals."

To get to the cats, she said someone would have had to come into her property and through a side-door into her garage, where they were kept in their run overnight.

She said there was no sign of a break-in, but her children used the garage as a playroom and sometimes forgot to lock the door.

She reported it to the police, but with no signs of a break in and no one she suspected, there was not much they could do, she said.

She said her family of four guinea pigs had died suddenly recently, but she had believed something must have frightened them.

She now wondered if they were poisoned too.

Pathology testing is still being done to try to find out what was used to poison the cats.

Ms Abbott said the bill from the vet and the autopsy came close to $6000, which she was struggling to pay as a single mother and part-time worker. She had set up a Givealittle page to ask for help with the bill.

At The Vets clinic veterinarian Heather Remnant said cases of intentional poisoning were rare, but she had come across several in Christchurch.

She said one client had their dog poisoned.

"Once they got a new dog they got a note in their letterbox saying I see you have a new dog, this one better not bark like the last one," she said

She said the autopsies were very reliable at pointing to the cause of death, but it was much more difficult to pinpoint which poison was used as they had to be tested one by one.