A callous pet owner left 25 cats – including kittens – starving and abandoned in a “dingy” flat as horrified rescuers spent three days trying to save the neglected animals.
RSPCA saviours Emma Dingley, Lisa Lupson and Helen Smith recovered the malnourished cats and kittens – aged from one-week old to 4 years-old – in Birkenhead, Liverpool.
The horrified rescuers believe what started out as a breeding operation spiralled out of control, with their spineless owner abandoning them to die instead of seeking help.
The terrified cats had no food or water and were discovered cowering behind furniture when approached by humans.
Two of the helpless kittens sadly died after their blood was drained of iron by a rabid flea infestation.
A number of the helpless babies were understood to have been born inside the sofa cushions.
Pictures from inside the flat show broken furniture piled high, cat hair matted into the carpet and trash strewn across the floor.
Newly released figures from the charity show that a staggering seven cats a day suffer at the hands of humans with nearly 18,000 cat cruelty complaints being reported to their helpline in 2021.
Kay Hawthorn, the branch manager, said: “All the cats and kittens were in such a mess.
“They were flea-infested and filthy and obviously very hungry so we got to work helping them straight away.
“They were terrified and it is clear they had not had much human interaction so we are working with them now to help them overcome this fear.
“Despite this, they are all so beautiful and have lovely temperaments.
“With some patience and love they have come round and while some have been rehomed we are looking for suitable homes for the remaining cats in our care who are a bit timid but with a bit of time will gain confidence.”
Inspector Lisa Lupson said: “Whatever situation someone finds themselves in, abandoning animals is never okay.
“It was lucky that a neighbour spotted this situation and alerted us but there’s no guarantee that animals will be found when they are left like this and they would have been suffering from the flea infestations.
“They were living in filthy conditions with no food and water and were terrified. Sadly two of the kittens died from flea anaemia as their tiny bodies could not cope.
“We believe the owners probably started with a few unneutered cats and then the breeding got out-of-control and then they ended up with this situation.
“And we are left to pick up the pieces as they walked away and left them. Or enquiries are on-going to see if we can trace the owner.
“This goes to show how important it is for owners to get their cats neutered at the earliest opportunity.
“Not only does this prevent any unwanted litters and an increase in the ever-growing cat population, it also benefits the health and wellbeing of the cat.”
Thankfully, some of the cats have already found loving homes.
But Klaus, Kai, Elijah, Angelo, Pip, Skittles and Dipsy are still looking for their pet parents.