FIVE tiny kittens narrowly escaped being mauled by foxes after being abandoned in a Benfleet car park.
Heartless pet owners dumped the litter of black and white and tabby kittens in a cardboard box in a doctor’s surgery car park in Rushbottom Lane alongside an unopened tin of cat food.
Fortunately they were found at around 10.30pm by a couple walking their dog, by which time foxes had surrounded them, waiting to pounce.
The couple telephoned the Castle Point Cats Protection League, which immediately sent someone to rescue the frightened animals.
Norman Mills, of Seamore Avenue, Benfleet, who took in the kittens, said: “I think someone put them there to be found, but it was quite late in the evening, so by the time they were found they were surrounded by foxes.
“They would have been dead by the morning if they hadn’t been seen.
“They are so very lucky. When we got them, they were terrified and just sat curled up in a corner, but now they seem back to normal, chasing string and each other.”
Volunteers for the animal charity claim they are stretched to the limit as, in the past few months, they have been inundated with 50 abandoned kittens, the most they have had.
Pet owners are being urged to get their animals neutered to prevent the problem escalating.
Allison Barrow, from the protection league, said: “What did these people think would happen to them out there late at night?
“We are absolutely full to the brim with kittens and we still have a few pregnant cats ready to give birth. It’s just appalling at the moment.
“We’ve got to get it across to people they need to take responsibility and get their cats neutered.
“Cats come into season at just four months and they can have three litters a year, so if – like this one – they have five, that’s 15 kittens per cat, every year.
“If people can’t cope with their cats, just ring us – they should never do this.”
The charity is holding an emergency kitten re-homing show to try to find all the animals new owners.
The event will take place from 11.30pm until 2pm on Sunday, September 8, at Mill Hall, in Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh.
For more information, visit www.catsrayleigh.terapad.com