Three little cats were squashed inside a cardboard box with no ventilation holes and left dumped by the side of a road.
The two males and one female were found packed into the box and left near Walstead Stream in Lindfield.
They were discovered by a dog walker who found the box next to her van while she walked back with her pet.
The three cats - now named Kiwi, Kirk and Ken - are being cared for by staff at Cats Protection’s national cat adoption centre at Chelwood Gate and will soon be looking for new homes.
Adoption centre diputy manager Tania Marsh said: “When the dog walker returned to her van, she discovered the box had been left beside it. Inside were three very scared cats, huddled in one corner almost on top of one another.
“There were no holes and it was very hot inside, and one of the cats was breathing rapidly upon arrival at our centre.
“Obviously we don’t know anything about their history, but they seem very shell-shocked from this traumatic experience. At the moment, they are recovering well with no obvious signs of illness but we will be monitoring them closely.
“It’s tragic that these cats have been left like this and just fortunate that they were spotted. Sadly, unwanted young cats like this is often a consequence of unneutered cats breeding uncontrollably.
“These three cats will all be neutered to prevent further unwanted cats, and will be looking for a new home once they have fully recovered.”
The centre has now launched a fundraising appeal to help care for the cats as they recover. To help fund their care, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ncac-3-abandoned-cats
Any funds raised above and beyond the £450 target will go towards helping the many other cats and kittens in Cats Protection’s care.
To find out more about adopting Kiwi, Kirk and Ken, or any of the other 150 cats currently being cared for by the centre, visit www.cats.org.uk