The well-loved pets, called Honey, Lena and Gizmo, were killed by smoke fumes after the kitchen caught fire at the property on Gresley Road, in Lowedges, while their owners were visiting friends.
Three fire crews from Lowedges and Central fire stations were called out to the fire at 10.35pm last night, spending more than an hour at the scene dealing with the incident.
Wayne Foulds, aged 39, and friend Victoria Ellis, 45, were outside the flat, and the fire was out.
But firefighters said the council flat had a lot of smoke inside and four cats were still inside.
The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, centred around a socket on the wall.
Wayne said Victoria would be staying with him in his small flat until alternative arrangements could be put in place by Sheffield Council.
He said: “Things can be replaced and the flat can be repaired – but what is heartbreaking is losing the cats. I’d had one of them for 14 years.
"We had been to visit friends, and when we got back there was a smell of smoke. We went inside to look for the animals, and the dog, Scarla, ran out.
"We couldn’t see the cats and called the fire brigade.”
Three of the cats died. A fourth pet cat, Nala, is currently with the PDSA’s animal hospital.
Scarla aged 12, is back with her owners, but is suffering from the effects of the smoke, said Wayne, who described the help they had received from the PDSA as ‘amazing’.
He said Scarla may have to go back to the vets if her condition deteriorates.
He also paid tribute to neighbours on Gresley Road, who he said came out to offer what help they could
He said there was a lot of damage to the kitchen, where nearly everything was damaged in the blaze. A crowdfunding page has been set up to help Victoria get back on her feet. Log onto https/gofund.me/ed17ee72 to donate.