A cat and her four kittens were found dumped in a bag by the side of the road by a horrified dog walker near Swadlincote.
The cats are now in the care of Lina’s Cat Rescue, a not-for-profit organisation based in the Derbyshire area which focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing cats, after being dumped behind a lay-by on the A50, just before the Swadlincote exit.
A dog walker alerted the centre to the cats and rescue workers then found a blue rucksack, which they believe had been dumped earlier that day.
After rescuing the kittens, the charity could not initially find the mother. Liz Walker, a dedicated foster carer and treasurer for Lina’s Cat Rescue, visited the site and set-up a trap using cat litter from the kittens and food, which it was hoped would lure her out - and it worked.
The mother, who is believed to be around a year old, was later found inside the trap and was later reunited with the kittens.
The kittens, who were thought to be around six weeks old, and their mother, who has now been aptly named Lizzie, after Liz, were taken to the vets and are all in a healthy condition, says the charity.
The four tiny kittens have all found a new home but one is still needed for Lizzie. She is now available for visits after being neutered and vaccinated, said a spokesman.
Sheryl Leonardi, a cat foster carer who has been involved with Lina's Cat Rescue since 2012, said incidents like this are not a rare occurence.
She said: "Unfortunately we see things like this all the time. It has been exceptionally busy this year and that's why we just want to encourage everybody to get their cats neutered."
She added that Lizzie was a very "confident" cat that would like a home where she can roam outside. She is suited to homes with children over the age of five and is friendly with other cats.
"We will never know what happened to them," she said.
"But we know they had been left near the road very recently because it had been raining heavily and the bag they were found in was completely dry. Lizzie is really friendly and not scared of strangers. She is the type of cat that will come and sit on your lap and will come for cuddles."
Anyone who thinks they can help Lizzie can email the team at email@example.com to find out more.