Eight desperately ill kittens were found dumped in shoeboxes inside a Sports Direct bag in an alleyway. 

The four-week-old cats were found by a member of the public in Enfield on October 29 after one managed to get free from its box and was heard crying nearby.

The kittens were all "sucked dry" by fleas, freezing cold and very lethargic, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said.

The kittens were taken to Finsbury Park Animal Hospital where one of the kittens was put down as it was so ill. Two had already died.

The surviving kittens have been named Martin, Van, Nike, Jordan and Dune.

When they are well enough they will be moved to an RSPCA centre to be rehomed.

Enfield Independent: The Sports Direct bag where eight four-week-old kittens were found abandonedThe Sports Direct bag where eight four-week-old kittens were found abandoned (Image: RSPCA)

RSPCA animal rescue officer (ARO) Nick Jonas said: “A member of the public actually noticed the bag earlier that day - but it was only later on that he heard the meow and thought to look inside. The poor kittens had definitely been dumped for at least 24 hours. 

“They had flea anaemia - they were sucked dry by the fleas and had no colour left in their gums - which is probably why two of them died.

"They were far too young to be away from their mother.

“I’ve made enquiries in the local area and asked people to check doorbell cameras to see if they notice anyone with a Sports Direct bag.”

Members of the public with information are urged to contact the RSPCA’s appeals line on 0300 123 8018, quoting reference 01177042.

More than 20,000 cats are rescued by the RSPCA every year, but neutering cats can avoid hundreds of unwanted kittens in rescue centres. 

Pet owners can find a range of practical help and advice on the RSPCA’s dedicated cost of living hub.

The charity has also launched a dedicated phone line for those looking for support. If in need call 0300 123 0650.