On Tuesday the 5th of July, three friends decided to go on a summer evening bike ride along the Brenta river in Saletto, Italy. And thank god they did.
The cyclists were passing by a garage next to the river when one of them heard a strange noise. It sounded like something small and furry crying out for help.
A cry for help
The trio stopped, got off their bikes, and followed the noise to some bushes next to the road. And that's where they found three tiny kittens huddled together.
The friends waited for a mum cat to return. When she didn't, the rescuers realised that these baby cats had been abandoned by a heartless human.
These three boys were never going to leave the kittens to their fate. So they did the right thing and contacted the police, who then got in touch with a local animal shelter. Volunteers were dispatched to collect and carry the kittens to safety.
The kittens were just 20 days old. Thankfully, they were in surprisingly good health. They're now staying with foster cat-mum Alessandra Buzzetti, who will care for the kittens until they're ready to move onto their forever homes.
"The boys should be very proud of themselves," wrote Alessandra in a recent Facebook post. "Their quick thinking, initiative, and kind hearts saved these kittens. These poor creatures were starved, exhausted, dehydrated, and terrified. I dread to think about what could have happened to these sweet innocent kittens."
There's no excuse
No animal deserves to be thrown away like this. But unfortunately, stories like this are all too common. The RSPCA deals with around 20,000 abandoned cat or kitten cases every single year.
Many of the kittens are from unwanted litters, which can be easily prevented by proper and responsible pet care. Spaying cats is the most effective way of stopping pregnancy.
Spaying is quick, cheap, and safe. Some organisations, including Cats Protection, will carry out the procedure for free or at a reduced cost.