On Jan. 11, a woman named Wendy was on her way home after work when she saw some suspicious-looking packages lining a brick wall in an alleyway in Stratford, London. The boxes were sealed shut with a concerning amount of packing tape, which was odd.
As she continued to walk by, she thought she heard a sound, so she turned back to investigate. She contacted a local rescue group after realizing the noise coming from the boxes sounded a lot like a cat meow.
Since the alley was close to a busy road and the rescuers weren’t sure of the condition of the cats, they made air holes in the boxes so the cats could breathe until they could be transported to a contained space and freed from their cardboard prisons.
A video of the unboxing made it to the Facebook page of the Celia Hammond Animal Trust, which was the group responsible for picking up the boxes and their precious contents.
In the video, a woman used a butter knife to cut through the tape, trying to work quickly but also being careful not to hurt the creatures inside. As the four boxes were opened, rescuers found 11 sad cats staring back at them.
The 9 young cats and 2 adults did not appear feral, and while they were underfed and had to be treated for fleas, it seemed like they had been handled at some point and were cautious but not overly skittish.
“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 group wrote on Jan. 15. “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.”
“One really strange thing is that these cats are really friendly and have clearly once been loved, handled and cuddled — what on earth would drive an apparently loving owner to do something so terrible? Perhaps it was a family member or neighbour who hated the cats enough to do this.”
After getting some TLC, the cats are doing well. Many people have inquired about adopting them, and the group is hoping to adopt them out in pairs since they’re all so close with one another.
“The cats are doing well,” a post from Jan. 18 reads. “Once they had recovered from their shock they have turned out to be friendly and like being stroked.”
“They have all been treated for fleas and worms and vaccinated. Our vets are neutering and microchipping them prior to them be ready for new homes.”
“The cats are doing well and are getting better every day,” the group shared on Jan. 27. “The help you have all given has been absolutely amazing and is so very much appreciated. It really is good to know that are so many people out there who support our rescue work.”
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