A Morden animal shelter is teeming with kittens after workers discovered a box of 15 kittens and two adult cats abandoned outside.
The manager of the Pembina Valley Humane Society said she found the kittens outside the building on Thursday, and many of them were extremely ill.
“Many of the youngest kittens were in distress due to severe upper respiratory ailments that had been left untreated for some time,” said Kathy Gyoerick.
Gyoerick said two of the kittens didn’t survive their first night in the shelter.
“Their little bodies were just not strong enough,” she said.
Six kittens are currently under quarantine at the shelter with severe respiratory lung infections.
"It was just heart breaking and terrible to see. Their eyes were completely sealed shut from infection. Their noses were completely clogged making it difficult for them to breath," she said.
The kittens were from multiple litters and two adult cats who were about a year old were with them.
The kittens ranged in age from two weeks old to four months.
“The second mother and several of the youngest kittens had been suffering for some time based on their physical condition and state of emaciation,” said Gyoerick.
The shelter has surveillance video set up outside, and Gyoerick said they have footage of a couple and a young boy knocking on the door.
The footage shows the group looking confused and then leaving. They return shortly after with a box of kittens.
The animals were exposed to a cool, rainy day for a few hours before Gyoerick found them.
She said she understands families need to drop off animals when they can no longer care for them, but if proper procedures aren't followed, the animals' lives are put at risk.
"I'm angry that it happened,” she said. “We have a surrender process."
Morden resident Trisha Hoeppner stopped by the shelter on Tuesday to adopt a cat, but now she’s considering adopting one of the abandoned kittens.
“I think their hearts were in the right place, but they obviously didn’t think it all the way through,” she said. “I would have come back home and come back when they were open.”
Now, the shelter has appealed to the public for help. They’re asking for donations of canned, pate-style cat and kitten food as well as pellet kitty litter. More details on how to donate are available on the society's website.
People can also donate money through the website or by mailing a cheque to the Pembina Valley Humane Society at 462 Jefferson St., Morden, Man., R6M 0C3.