Eight cats have been rescued from horrific conditions after they were left alone when their owner died.
Volunteers from Tender Paws cat sanctuary discovered the cats terrified and crawling with fleas inside an empty flat on Lytham Road last week, four months after their elderly owner had died.
Tender Paws founder Christine Meryem said: “These cats are traumatised. You can’t handle them at all.”
The cats had been trapped inside for months, and only survived thanks to a neighbour, who had a key, who fed them dry cat biscuits.
Three of the female cats were found to be pregnant, with one of them later having to undergo an operation to remove the unborn kittens as they had died in her womb.
Christine said: “The fellow who owned them passed away and left the cats.
“The man who lives in the flat below came to the shop and asked for help because the landlord said they had to go.
“The stench was appalling. There was animal faeces everywhere.
“It was so bad you could hardly breathe.
“It was full of rubbish and it was total squalor. The cats were running around and ripping up the carpets and the seats.”
Tender Paws initially rescued nine cats from the property, however, a kitten estimated to be between 10 and 12-days-old died one week after being found in a cardboard box at the flat.
The remaining eight pets, of varying ages, are now being looked after by experienced foster families.
Christine said: “They are being checked every day.
“They’re very, very timid.”
Tender Paws volunteer Liam Richards, who also attended the scene, said: “When me and Christine went into the flat, you couldn’t describe it. It was horrible.
“Being a cat rescue we do get asked to take in unwanted cats, but nothing as bad as this. They are all underweight and malnourished.
“I’m very shocked they managed to survive.
“The cats are still shaken and extremely nervous but hopefully they will make a full recovery.”
The landlord of the flat where the cats were living did not wish to comment.