It was over 100 degrees the day a car pulled up to the Southeast Volusia Humane Society in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. When the driver and passenger got out, they carried a plastic storage tote. They’d found kittens in their neighborhood, the people said, and they wanted to bring them here.
“I looked up and saw this kitten peek his head up from between the two flaps of the tote, and for some reason, they [the people] were trying to push the kitten back in,” Karen Morgan, executive director of Southeast Volusia Humane Society, told The Dodo. “A staff member and myself ran outside quickly. I grabbed the tote from them, and came in and opened it.”
Inside were nine panting tuxedo kittens — and none of them were doing well. Morgan suspects they were in the container, which didn’t have air ventilation, for at least an hour. “It is really meant for shipping — it’s not meant for anything that’s alive,” she said.
To make matters worse, the kittens had been driven in a car with a black interior, which may have made them feel the heat even more.
“They were on black leather or black vinyl in that car, so that’s pulling heat down on top of them,” Morgan said. “Those kittens were in direct sunlight. There was nothing protecting them at all.”
As the result, the kittens were dangerously overheated. In fact, Morgan believes they were minutes from death.
“If you’ve ever left a Coke can in the front seat of your car in the hot sun, and you came back a few hours later and feel how hot it is — those little kittens felt like that when we touched them,” Morgan said. “One of them, his little tongue was hanging out and he was panting in my hands, and I thought he was going to lose consciousness.”
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