A box of four-week-old kittens who were moments from death were dumped in a north Suffolk village with their mother tied to a fence.
Discovered at a gateway in Wilby, the kittens were cold, wet and starving when they were found by the owner of the land, who rushed them to Castle Veterinary Group in Framlingham for urgent care.
Their mother, who had struggled to get free, could not be saved, strangled by the string she was tied to the fence with a few feet away from her kittens.
The kittens are now in the care of 22-year-old Victoria Gross, an animal assistant at the vets, who has been nursing them back to health at her Debenham home.
“It’s hard to believe that someone could do this, it makes me feel ill,” said Miss Gross.
“It had been raining so they were wet and bedraggled when they were found and they had a flea infestation and worms.
“Given their conditions I don’t think they would have lasted much longer. We had to fatten them up because they were so skinny.”
At such a young age, the kittens – three females and one male – would still have been drinking their mother’s milk, so Miss Gross had to feed them by hand.
Now, two weeks on, the kittens have been given a new lease of life.
“They still haven’t quite got the grasp of eating food but they are getting there,” said Miss Gross.
“They are full of beans, they are running around playing and their coats are in a much nicer condition.”
Miss Gross, who also volunteers at Suffolk Animal Rescue, a charity based in Debenham, has fostered more than 100 cats over the years and said she thought kittens were dumped in cases like this because of the cost of keeping them.
The four kittens, who have yet to be named, will be ready to go to new homes in about two weeks.
Miss Gross said: “It will be sad to see them go but it will be nice knowing they are going to a good home.”
For information about rehoming the kittens call 01728 860937 or visit www.suffolkanimalrescue.org