A newborn litter of kittens and their mother were rescued from a shed after they were found sheltering from sub-zero temperatures.

The one-year-old mother and her family were found hiding in the building in a garden in Neath.

The cat and her four kittens, who are believed to be no more than a week old, managed to survive some of the coldest nights of the year and were taken to Cats Protection's Bridgend Adoption Centre.

The mother cat has been named Crystal whilst her four babies were also aptly named Frosty, Snowdrop, Snowflake and Icicle.

Rachel Davies, who volunteers at Cats Protection, went to collect the felines but was concerned when she arrived that one of the cats - Frosty - was not as active as the others.

He was freezing and there wasn't much response from him so I initially put him inside my top so he could benefit from my warmth. I collected the rest of the kittens and rushed them to the centre with Frosty wrapped in a towel on my car’s heated seats.

Rachel Davies, Cats Protection

Whilst Crystal and three of the litter were nursed to health at the centre, Frosty - the smallest of the kittens - did not respond as well to medical treatment and did not survive.

Deputy Manager of the cat rescue centre, Teresa Blair, was there when the family of cats arrived at the centre and she said: “From the moment Crystal and the kittens arrived it was a real rollercoaster of emotions. She and her girls really benefitted from the warmth of the centre but nothing we tried seemed to help Frosty."It’s moments like this that really hammer home to us how vital it is to neuter cats as soon as possible. Crystal is so young, and we believe is likely to have had a number of other litters already. "It’s truly amazing that any of them survived the bitter weather. We will of course make sure she and the kittens are neutered before they are homed.”

The charity are urging people to have their cats neutered to prevent young felines having litters in potentially fatal situations. Cats Protection and RSPCA Cymru run a £5 neutering campaign for people with a low income, who are in receipt of certain means-tested benefits or are full-time students living away from home.