A nine-week-old kitten had to have its eye removed after being dumped on the doorstep of a veterinary hospital with shocking injuries.
The black and white moggie was discovered in a cardboard box with its left eye hanging out.
A receptionist at the South Essex Wildlife Hospital arrived at work to find the female kitten outside the front gates.
It is believed that she was left in the middle of the night five days before Christmas.
Sadly, the kitten was seriously hurt and needed an operation to remove her eye.
Speaking about her recovery, a spokesman for the hospital, said: “The kitten is okay, the eye was surgically removed as it was already hanging out.
“We do not commonly have animals left here waiting for us because we do not publish our address.
“It is awful really what has happened to the poor thing.
“We do not know exactly what happened to it, it is better we do know their history so we can make sure we know how to care for it.”
A spokesman for the hospital warned that dumping the cat in the middle of the night could have been a huge danger to its life.
They said: “Obviously leaving animals outside in the cold is a risk.
“They could succumb to the cold rather than their injuries so it just reduces their chances of survival greatly.
“People get their cats caught in places, they may run out and get hit by a car or they discover an injured animal.
“If people phone us when they find the animal injured then it would make it a lot easier for us.
“It happens all the time and we are forever getting calls of pets being run over or cats running out and being found injured.”
The hospital, which is based on the outskirts of Orsett, Essex, cares for and treats about 10,000 animals a year.
The kitten is recovering slowly and will be rehomed as soon as it has made a full recovery from its surgery.