A BELOVED cat which was rushed to the vet after falling ill had to be put down after a suspected case of anti-freeze poisoning.

Rescue cat Bunny was allowed to roam outdoors during the day, but was always locked inside its home in Redbridge Road, Great Clacton, overnight.

When Bunny’s owners awoke one morning, the three-year-old moggy was “unusually grumpy and withdrawn”.

By the afternoon, the cat was vomiting an unusual foam substance and the family rushed the poorly animal to the emergency vet.

Owner Tina Chirgwin, 47, said: “It was her birthday and in the afternoon she started being sick but it was like a foam.

“In the space of ten minutes it was like she was drunk, stumbling about and wouldn’t respond.”

The vet carried out blood tests which returned abnormal results for her kidneys.

Bunny’s condition worsened and she had to be put to sleep.

Tina’s 17-year-old daughter was left devastated.

Tina said: “We still have her sister with us, but Bunny was my daughter’s cat really.We had her for a year after rescuing her from the National Animal Welfare Trust.

“We love rescue animals and have 18 other animals in the house.

“We have everything from bearded dragons to mice, hamsters and snails. We are devastated.”

Tina and the vet suspected Bunny had been poisoned after consuming anti-freeze.

The RSPCA issued a warning after three cats belonging to the same family, from Highwoods, Colchester, died in an apparent poisoning.

Tina says after reporting her cat’s death on social media, she received numerous accounts of similar cases.

She said: “I am worried about anyone’s cats in the area. I don’t know whether there is a spillage somewhere.

“I know anti-freeze can be quite sweet to dogs and I wonder whether animals are being poisoned.”

An RSPCA spokesman said: “This is an upsetting incident which has resulted in the death of a much-loved family pet.

“We would ask everyone in the area to check where they keep their pesticides and chemicals and make sure they are secure and out of the way, making sure anti-freeze lids are shut tightly or cleaning up any spillages may save an animal’s life.

“Pet owners are asked to be vigilant and keep an eye on their cats’ wellbeing. If they are showing symptoms of poisoning, take them for veterinary treatment immediately.

“Signs of poisoning can be seen anything from 30 minutes after ingestion to two or three days.”

Signs can include vomiting, seeming depressed or sleepy, appearing drunk or unco-ordinated, seizures and difficulty breathing.