Cats and kittens abandoned in storage containers with snap-tight lids

Our marketing manager, Alisia Sanchez, was on her way to work this morning when she saw three GreenMade 27-gallon black and yellow storage totes sitting on the sidewalk near our front gate.

“So many thoughts crossed my mind,” Alisia said. “I wasn’t sure if the totes belonged to someone. We’ve had items abandoned there before. I also wasn’t sure if it was safe to open the totes. Knowing that there may be live animals inside, I quickly made the decision to open one.”

When Alisia opened the tote, she found three adult cats peering back at her.

“My heart broke,” Alisia said. “I closed the lid fearing they’d jump out and proceeded to open the others.”

In the second tote were two other adult cats; in the third, a momma cat and her kittens.

“I saw a note in the third tote,” Alisia said. “In cursive, I made out the words, ‘Please forgive me…’ I called our adoption supervisor for help. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit all three totes in my car.”

Our adoption supervisor, Ruben Cantu, made his way to our front gate immediately.

According to Office Depot’s item description, the totes are very sturdy and consist of snap-tight lids that help keep dust and debris out. When Alisia found them, it was 20 minutes till 10 a.m. and, at the time, the weather was cool. Still, we can’t imagine how uncomfortable it might have been for all the cats and kittens.

“Regardless of the weather,” Ruben said, “there’s no excuse for leaving an animal trapped in a box or container.”

At Valley Animal Center, our intake rooms can comfortably accommodate only a limited number of animals. If you find yourself with very few options, please know we are always available to provide you with additional resources.

“There’s a big community of people who love cats,” our animal care operations supervisor, Maritza Lopez, said. “Social media can be a great tool, and at Valley Animal Center, we don’t mind having a conversation. We will always do our best to help and provide resources. With this particular individual, an option could have been to schedule the surrenders. It’s better to help a few at a time, but when a large number of animals are abandoned, we can’t help others because our kennels are now full.”

If you are seeking to surrender your pet, please complete our Owner Surrender Request Form online HERE. You may also contact us at or (559) 233-8690. Additionally, if you need help feeding your pet, please reach out to Halo Cafe, a local nonprofit and pet food pantry dedicated to helping families and individuals facing financial struggles feed their pets.

“The adult cats are all scared.” Maritza said, “None were aggressive and we’re sure we can get them to come around soon. Four of the kittens went to foster. Sadly, the fifth kitten was very sick; he was emaciated, had a URI, and couldn’t maintain his body temperature. The best decision was to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge.”

Valley Animal Center is dedicated to serving animal companions in the Central Valley and beyond. Our mission is to unite dogs and cats with loving people. We believe every animal deserves a loving family and furever home. Donate to support our endless mission as we care for hundreds of homeless dogs and cats.

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