SHOCKED staff at a Christchurch veterinary practice are helping an elderly cat back to full health after it was left among a pile of rubbish in a cardboard box.

The Siamese cat was brought to Priory Veterinary Group’s hospital in Purewell on Wednesday.

This followed the discovery of the pet by waste collection workers, who heard the feline before the box had been placed in the collection lorry.

While the vets are yet to discover the full details of the circumstances which led to the cat being dumped in the cardboard box, they urged people to contact a practice or one of the various charities who can offer support if they need support.

Roxy Lewis, lead nurse at the hospital, said she had never treated an elderly cat that had been in such a state and dumped.

The cat is severely underweight and required medical assistance.

Nicola Holmwood, practice manager at Priory Veterinary Group, said: “Everyone at the hospital was completed shocked, saddened and really upset by what has happened.

“We do not know the full circumstances but the cat is not microchipped and does not have a collar, so it has not been easy to identify her.

“We gave her some food and ran some blood tests. We have given her thyroid medication and flea and worm treatment. She also needs dental treatment.

“She is getting a lot of attention and she is happier than when she came in. We have started her on the care that she needs and we are working with the relevant authorities to home her.

“It is very rare to have a case like this. We have a lovely community in Christchurch.”

The vets have spoken to police, the council and the RSPCA since the cat arrived at the hospital.

Anyone with information about the cat or how it ended up in a cardboard box can contact the veterinary practice.

Ms Holmwood said people can find assistance if they need it and encouraged cat owners to get their pets microchipped, which is not a legal requirement unlike dogs.

“If anyone is struggling to care for their pet, we strongly suggest they seek help and support," she said.

“Whether that is speaking to a vets or a charity, there are people out there who can help.”

On finding a home for the cat, Ms Holmwood said: “She is a lovely cat and we hope she will be able to find a caring home going forward.”