ABANDONED in a box near the Kassam Stadium, these young kittens were lucky to be found by a passer-by.

Nine of the tiny creatures were languishing on the side of the road, in desperate need of care.

No more than a month old, they were in an highly vulnerable state when they were taken to Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, in Stadhampton, on Tuesday.

Soaking wet, covered in fleas and barely moving – they were cleaned and kept warm. Five were taken to a vet and two are still in critical condition.

Grace Blizard, 19, who works at the sanctuary, said: “It’s horrible that someone can do this to such little creatures.”

Staff at the sanctuary will look after the kittens until they are able to be adopted, which will not be until they are at least eight weeks old.

The kittens need feeding a milk mixture every four hours, and all need toilet training.

Once they reach the appropriate age they will be put up for adoption, but will stay at the sanctuary until they are re-homed.

The sanctuary is confident they will find new families quickly, as more than 20 kittens have been adopted in the past month.

Call the centre on 01865 890239 to find out more about adopting a pet.

• Our top stories: