The RSPCA has launched an investigation after two cats were left at a shop in a taped-up carrier.
The cats were found huddled together in a corner of the Pets at Home store in Dewsbury.
Staff phoned the animal charity and the cats were later collected by the RSPCA’s animal rescue officer Ollie Wilkes.
Frightened but unharmed, they were taken to the charity’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for a check-up and routine flea and worming treatments.
They are both said to be healthy and in good condition, although neither of them were microchipped.
Now an appeal has been launched to trace two young women captured on the shop’s CCTV footage.
The CCTV footage, which has been passed to the RSPCA, appears to show the women entering the store with the carrier at 3.06pm and leaving without it just minutes later at 3.09pm, the charity said.
Ollie said: “Both cats were understandably scared and bewildered after being left in a busy shop in a strange and noisy environment.
“Once they’d been checked over and felt safe and reassured they started to relax. Both of them have lovely natures and they’re in good condition, so it’s upsetting that once-loved pets appear to have been abandoned like this.
“We’re very keen to find out more about why they were left in these circumstances and we’d appeal to anyone with information to get in touch with the RSPCA by contacting our appeals line number on 0300 123 8018.”
The cats are now being boarded at a private facility on behalf of the RSPCA. They are recovering well and will be rehomed by the charity.
A dedicated cost-of-living telephone helpline - 0300 123 0650 - is now being run by the RSPCA. Pet owners are urged to reach out for help if required.
It comes as animal abandonments incidents soared to a shocking three-year high.
The RSPCA fears the region’s unwanted pets will face a bleak winter.
Already this year, up to the end of October, the animal welfare charity has received 17,838 reports of abandoned animals across England and Wales.
If trends continue, this would equate to 21,417 reports over 2023.
This compares with 16,118 reports during the whole of 2020, reflecting an eye-watering 32.9 per cent rise in abandonment calls to the RSPCA this year.
It’s also higher than the number of reports received in 2021 (17,179) and 2022 (19,645).