Fifteen tiny kittens thought to be aged between 3-5 weeks old who were found crammed into a suitcase which had been dumped on the streets are recovering from their ordeal, lucky to be alive.
The kittens were discovered inside the suitcase, which someone had made small airholes at the top, by a veterinary nurse as she made her way to work in Dagenham, Essex.
Believed to be from three or four separate litters, the now dubbed ‘Suitcase Kittens’ are now being cared for by volunteers from Cats Protection’s Hornchurch & District Branch.
Alison Gambles, Welfare & Homing Officer for the branch said, “Although they were all alive and in fairly good condition, they were clearly far too young to be away from their mothers. Six of them had obvious cases of eye infection and although the others seem okay for now, we will need to closely monitor them.
“Someone must have felt in a very desperate situation to do this. They seem to have intended the kittens to be found as the suitcase had been left near the home of the veterinary nurse, who is well known locally. But with kittens this young and vulnerable, the outcome could have been awful.
“Kittens of this age are not fully weaned, so we will need to carefully hand-rear them to ensure they don’t miss out on the vital nutrients they would have received from their mothers.
“Either someone’s own cats had been breeding out of control, or someone had been trying to breed kittens for profit – we’ll never know the full story here. But sadly, it is often the case that people find they have more kittens than they can cope with because they haven’t had their cats neutered.
“We’d really like to appeal to whoever left these kittens to get in touch and so we can discuss ways to stop this happening again. Charities such as Cats Protection offer numerous ways to help people get their cats neutered – from giving advice and information to offering financial assistance to those on a low income.
“There really is no need for things to spiral out of control like this.”
Alison added that all the kittens had already been reserved by new owners.
She said: “Suddenly acquiring 15 new kittens to care for is a huge drain on our resources. Although we have already got owners lined up for them, we will need to care for them until they are old enough to be homed.
“What’s more of a challenge is that many people find kittens a lot more desirable, so the many young adult cats we have in our care will now wait longer to find a new home.”
Debra Teo, head vet at the local veterinary practice where the kittens were initially taken said “Happily, none of the kittens are seriously ill and they are now safe and being well cared for. However, every single kitten would have benefited from a few more weeks of care, attention and nutrition provided by its own mother.
“Our concerns now are about these mother cats who are most likely pregnant again by now. We are pleading with all cat owners to have both male and female cats and kittens neutered. The current situation could so easily have been averted and also could have easily ended up being a tragedy.”