A tiny kitten died after being born in the cardboard box its pregnant mother was found dumped in.
Three tiny kittens and a mother cat were discovered after being abandoned in a box among brambles in Stockport, Greater Manchester, on 23 December.
The box was discovered among brambles behind a metal fence at the back of the Jobwise carpark in St Petersgate.
Sadly, one of the kittens was found dead near the cold, damp box.
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Inside, the mother cat – now nicknamed Mistletoe – was curled up with her two remaining kittens, now named Holly and Merry.
RSPCA inspector Nadine Pengilly, who conducted the rescue, said: “We suspect the mother cat was abandoned in the box overnight on 22 December as she was found in the morning on 23 December. The box was damp but wasn’t soaked through so I don’t believe they’d been there much longer.
“I suspect she has given birth in the box as there was some blood inside the box and the kittens were just hours old when I collected them, with their umbilical cords still attached.
“Devastatingly one of the little kittens was dead at the scene. I believe he may have crawled out of the box as I found him outside the box, and he was very cold and wet.”
Mistletoe and her surviving kittens will remain in the RSPCA’s care until the kittens are old enough to be weaned, before they are then re-homed.