A litter of seven six-week-old kittens, all suffering with cat flu, were found dumped in a cat carrier in Exchange Street, North Shore on New Year's Eve.
The RSPCA are now appealing for information after a member of the public alerted them to the "freezing cold" kittens after spotting them while taking her rubbish out.
RSPCA animal collection officer Robyn Morris said: “These poor kittens were dumped out in the cold and very poorly.
A couple of them had such severe flu that their eyes had stuck together with gunk and the poor mites were freezing when found.
They were lucky that they were spotted when they were so that I was able to take them to a vet as quickly as possible.”
The kittens were taken to a vet, and put on a treatment of eye drops and antibiotics to clear up the flu.
They are all on the road to recovery after treatment, and are all a healthy weight.
All seven kittens will now be moved to RSPCA Southport, Ormskirk and District branch, where they will soon be looking for new homes.
Animal rescuer Robyn added: “We are appealing for anyone with information about these kittens to please get in touch with us.
Perhaps you saw something unusual in Exchange Street at around 1.30pm on New Year’s Eve, or maybe you recognise these kittens, then please contact the RSPCA on the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”
Kittens can be vaccinated against cat flu from around nine weeks old and this is part of their first set of ‘kitten jabs’ at the vets.
Cat flu is an airborne virus and generally spread through direct contact with other cats such as saliva, tears and nasal secretions, or indirectly through food bowls, bedding, litter trays or human hands.
It can cause sore eyes and blocked noses and if left untreated, it can lead to permanently damaged eyes, pneumonia or, at worst, it can be fatal.
Symptoms include sneezing and runny eyes, loss of appetite, eye and mouth ulcers and respiratory problems, as well as an increased temperature - while other cats can have and spread the virus without any signs at all.