Cat and her six kittens left in a taped-up box on a pavement in Oldham

The mum and her three-week-old babies are now doing well in the care of the RSPCA Credit: RSPCA

A cat and her six kittens are being cared for by the RSPCA after being dumped in a taped-up cardboard box on a pavement in Oldham.

Rachel Whalley, an inspector with the RSPCA, was called to the scene from a member of the public.

They found the box outside their home in Shaw and believed it contained just one cat, but when Rachel checked the box at a nearby vets she was shocked to also find six kittens inside.

“The mum cat is young and probably only about a year old herself and her kittens we believe are around three weeks old.

They were all obviously frightened but otherwise appeared in good health," she said.

"It seems someone has dumped them in this box which was shut with sticky tape and air holes were left in the top.

"They were then just left in the street in a very vulnerable position,' Rachel added.

“The box could have easily been mistaken for rubbish or a vehicle could have run over the box. It is sad to think what could have happened to them if they hadn’t been found."

The mum and her three-week-old babies are doing well in the care of the RSPCA Manchester and Salford branch.

Now Rachel is appealing for information to find out who dumped them.

“They were in an Asda box which contained a George microwave so I am appealing for anyone who saw someone with this distinctive box to get in touch.

"I am also appealing to anyone in the local area to check their CCTV to help this investigation.

“It is never acceptable to abandon an animal. If you have a pet and are struggling to cope there is help out there with many charities on hand - the last thing you should do is dump them.”

The RSPCA is now seeking information on the mum and her kittens Credit: RSPCA

RSPCA officers say they are responding to an increasing number of abandoned pets as the cost of living crisis continues to bite - but the animal welfare charity has warned the public this is never the answer.

Listen to the ITV News' podcast