Three kittens cheated death after being dumped in a wheelie bin of rubbish, emptied into a refuse truck and poured out into tons of household waste at a landfill site.
The five-week-old kittens – now named Scrappy, Dusty and Rusty - were spotted by staff at the Viridor Foxhall Landfill site in Ipswich as a household refuse lorry emptied its load on Tuesday (6 November).
After plucking the kittens to safety, workers contacted volunteers at Cats Protection’s Ipswich branch who nursed the traumatised kittens back to health.
David Smith, volunteer co-ordinator of the branch, said: “It appears these kittens had simply been chucked away with the household rubbish in the most appalling and callous way.
“If not neutered, cats are prolific breeders which creates many unwanted kittens, and this is a desperately sad example of how badly those kittens can be treated.
“What's more sad is that we won't ever know if they had litter mates that didn't survive. The fact that these three survived is nothing short of a miracle.”
Not only did the kittens survive being dumped and trapped in the wheelie bin, they also narrowly escaped being crushed in the truck's compactor when the rubbish was loaded.
The kittens – who would barely have been weaned from their mother – are being cared for by David and his wife Sheila until they are ready for adoption in around five weeks time.
David said: “They were absolutely traumatised, very dirty, shaking and distressed but with plenty of TLC they have already bounced back and are lovely, playful kittens. They've just been given a clean bill of health by the vet so their future looks bright.
“They should really still be with their mother, and it's heartbreaking to think of them being taken from her and tossed in the bin.”
David praised the workers at the landfill site who spotted the kittens and raised the alarm.
He said: “There was no way they could have known the kittens were in the wheelie bin, but they spotted them as soon as the truck tipped the rubbish out. They took them to a portacabin and kept them warm and dry, it was really touching to see how concerned they were.”
Victor Perez-Mares, spokesman for Viridor, said: “It is good to learn that Dusty, Scrappy and Rusty are doing well and I would like to praise our team on site for their work in rescuing the kittens and promptly calling Cats Protection.”
If you would like to adopt the kittens, then visit http://www.cats.org.uk//contact-cp and complete the form, making sure to mention ‘Ipswich kittens’ in the comments box.