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Cats sealed in boxes saved hours before death

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Abandoned cats left to die in sealed boxes in an alley have been inundated with offers of new homes after being saved hours before death.

Footage of the moment the 11 young cats were broken out of the cardboard boxes – which had no air holes – was posted online by the Celia Hammond Animal Trust, which helped rescue the cats.

A woman heard “miaowing” sounds coming from an alley in Stratford, east London, near a busy road on 11 January and discovered boxes sealed with parcel tape.

The rescued clowder of cats. Pic:@ Celia Hammond Animal Trust
Image:
The rescued clowder of cats. Pic:@ Celia Hammond Animal Trust

Celia Hammond, founder of the group, told Sky News: “The number of cats is quite unusual but we fairly often get dumped boxes of cats.

“They do nearly always punch air holes in… if we hadn’t been called they wouldn’t have survived.”

As the rescuers was unsure how the cats would react to being released near the road, rescuers made air holes in the boxes and drove them back to a nearby clinic.

In fear of harming the cats, the boxes were opened with a butter knife.

More than 10 cats were abandoned in boxes. Pic: Celia Hammond Animal Trust
Image:
More than 10 cats were abandoned in boxes. Pic: Celia Hammond Animal Trust

The trust said: “We can only assume the intention was for them to die as surely everybody knows animals need to be able to breathe to survive.

“The boxes cannot have been there very long as without oxygen our vets estimate they probably wouldn’t have lived more than an hour or two.”

The cats, who were happy to be handled and cuddled, were extremely underweight and covered in fleas, according to the trust.

In an update posted on Thursday, the group said: “We have been overwhelmed by your response to the plight of these cats and your kindness and generosity.

“We regularly respond to cases of cats abandoned in boxes and baskets left in alleyways, on doorsteps and in the street but in this case the number of cats and the way that they were sealed in the boxes has been particularly shocking.”

The cats are reported to be “doing well” and have been treated for fleas, worms and have been vaccinated. They will be microchipped and neutered before they are rehomed.

“We’ve had hundreds of people saying they want to adopt them,” Ms Hammond told Sky News.

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