A cat and six kittens were found taped up inside a cardboard box that had been dumped in a street in Oldham.
A resident on Netherhouse Road in Shaw alerted the RSPCA after they found the Asda George microwave box which they initially believed contained just one cat, on the pavement outside their home on Sunday (April, 2).
An inspector from the animal charity, Rachel Whalley, rushed to the scene to collect the cat however when she opened the box at a nearby vets she was left stunned to find that there were also six kittens inside.
The box had been closed with sticky tape with air holes left in the top of the box. The charity says it could easily have been mistaken for rubbish and taken away or been hit by a vehicle on the road.
However, the roughly one-year-old mum and her three-week-old babies are doing well and are in the care of the RSPCA’s Manchester and Salford branch.
Ms Whalley is now leading an investigation into who dumped the animals. The RSPCA say it is likely they were dumped due to the mum having unwanted kittens and have reiterated the importance of owners having their cats neutered.
“They were all obviously frightened but otherwise appeared in good health,” Ms Whalley said. “It seems someone has dumped them in this box which was shut with sticky tape and air holes were left in the top. They were then just left in the street in a very vulnerable position.
“The box could have easily been mistaken for rubbish or a vehicle could have run over the box. It is sad to think what could have happened to them if they hadn’t been found.
“They were in an Asda box which contained a George microwave so I am appealing for anyone who saw someone with this distinctive box to get in touch. I am also appealing to anyone in the local area to check their CCTV to help this investigation.
“It is never acceptable to abandon an animal. If you have a pet and are struggling to cope there is help out there with many charities on hand – the last thing you should do is dump them.”
Susie Hughes, manager at the branch, said: “The kittens are doing well in our care. There are three black and white male cats and three tabby female cats. Their young mum is lovely and I believe she was only very young when she was pregnant.
“This shows the importance of neutering cats as females are capable of getting pregnant from just four months old and this leads to unwanted kittens – which is probably what happened in this case.”
The RSPCA say they responding to an increasing number of abandoned pets as the cost of living crisis continues to bite. Last month they received 1,324 reports of abandoned animals, up eight percent on February last year.
They are advising any pet-owners who are worrying about financial costs, that ere is information on the RSPCA’s cost of living hub. or alternatively you can call the charity’s dedicated cost of living call line on 0300 123 0650.
Ms Hughes said it will now cost the charity around £15 a day to feed and look after the family of seven and said donations had also dried up during the current economic squeeze.
“The cost of pet food and running costs of the centre have gone up significantly over the past year – and due to the cost of living crisis we have seen donations dry up at a time when we need financial help the most” she said.
“If anyone can support us to continue our vital work we would be grateful. We are always in need of cat food donations too so people can help in other ways.”