"Confused" cats abandoned in cardboard box tossed into shelter lobby by fleeing owner

Asheville, North Carolina - Two cats from North Carolina experienced a heartbreaking abandonment right in front of a team of horrified animal shelter workers.

Two cats from North Carolina experienced a heartbreaking abandonment right in front of a team of horrified animal shelter workers.
Two cats from North Carolina experienced a heartbreaking abandonment right in front of a team of horrified animal shelter workers.  © Collage: Screenshots/Instagram/@brotherwolfanimalrescue

A series of viral posts from Brother Wolf Animal Rescue tells the tale of the poor befuddled kitties.

One video, which has 270,00 views and counting, shows animal rescuers opening the cardboard box. Two clearly rattled cats poke their little heads out of the box, looking around in confusion.

The video's on-screen text explains: "We always try to give people the benefit of the doubt... not to shame them for needing help but that "this is not the way to do it. Not when you cause unnecessary stress to a helpless, confused animal."

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"For now, they have a quiet and safe space to decompress... and we know that tomorrow will be better," the text continues.

Brooke Fornea, the shelter's director of marketing, told Newsweek that "it was a shocking moment for everyone."

"The person opened the door and tossed the box inside... as it was sliding across the floor, they slammed the door shut and ran to a car waiting in the road that sped off," she explained.

Unfortunately, shelter security cameras weren't able to pick up the car registration or an image of the former owner, whose face was obscured. The cats' names were written on the box, however, identifying Theodore the Tuxedo cat and Juniper, an orange and black tortoise-shell kitty.

According to Fornea, while both cats were terrified, Theodore was having more trouble than Juniper: "[Theodore] was stress panting, which is rare in cats and can be extremely dangerous."

After quickly resolving the cats' upper respiratory infections with antibiotics, they were put up for adoption. And, as of a March 31 update, the duo have officially been adopted!

Shocking cat abandonment spurs heated discourse in the comments

As of a March 31 update, cats Theodore and Juniper have officially been adopted!
As of a March 31 update, cats Theodore and Juniper have officially been adopted!  © Screenshots/Facebook/@BrotherWolfAnimalRescue

Some users have compassion for the former owners, with one user writing, "Thankfully they dropped them off there and not in the woods, or worse. Thank you for helping them. They are beautiful."

"These people probably loved their cats and I'm sure they were desperate. For them to take them to an animal rescue and make sure they got in the front door is saying something," another agreed.

"I see hundreds of posts from my hometown where NONE of the shelters and most of the rescues will NOT take cats so they just get dumped. It's horrible."

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A third added, "They just keep looking for someone they know. How can people not realize these animals love us."

Thankfully, cats Theodore and Juniper are now safe and sound in a loving new home where the only cardboard boxes they'll see are the ones meant for playtime!

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshots/Instagram/@brotherwolfanimalrescue

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