A flea-covered kitten abandoned at a Hertford nature reserve is recovering – and now the RSPCA is hoping to find her a new home in time for the new year.

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The four-month-old female tabby was found in a box at the Waterford Heath Nature Reserve, in Sacombe Road, by a member of the public on 6 December. The RSPCA was contacted and the kitten is now in the animal charity’s care at its Blackberry Farm Animal Centre, in Buckinghamshire, where she has been named Sparkle.

RSPCA inspector Helen Mead said: “She was in such a terrible way when she was found – she was crawling with fleas and they were literally dropping off her body.

“When she was found by a member of the public, she was absolutely terrified, which is completely understandable given what she had been through. We don’t know how long she was there for. Poor Sparkle was very vulnerable out there on her own, with no food or water and just a cardboard box to protect her.

“Thankfully she is getting a lot of love and attention at Blackberry Farm. She has really come out of her shell and is such a lovely and affectionate cat. We hope that she will find a new home soon.

“In the meantime, we are urging anyone who has any information about how Sparkle came to be abandoned to contact us in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018. It is not acceptable to dump an animal like this and we are keen to speak to the person who did so.”

Anyone who is interested in adopting Sparkle can contact Blackberry Farm on 0300 123 0752.

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)