Abandoned Kittens Found in Back of Garbage Truck in Heartbreaking Video

A garbage man was shocked and dismayed to find three tiny abandoned kittens nestling among the trash in the back of his truck.

Terence Taylor shared distressing footage of the discovery to TikTok in a video that has amassed over 11.5 million views and comments expressing concern over how the young cats ended up there.

"This makes me want to cry," kaerae2120 said with laurenshell asking: "How could someone do this to an animal?"

Three kittens in a garbage truck.
Stock image of three kittens. A garbage man discovered three young cats in the back of his truck. vovashevchuk/Getty

Elsewhere, calistartist was one of several hundred praising Terence's efforts, writing: "Thank you for saving them."

The kittens appear alarmed and disorientated at their surroundings, while one of the feline spots wet, matted fur in the heartbreaking footage. Terence's video, which some may find distressing, can be watched here.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that approximately 3.4 million cats enter animal shelters in the U.S. every year.

However, that figure does not account for the alarming number of young felines cruelly abandoned far from the security of these shelters with little thought for their survival.

Previous horror stories have detailed instances of kittens being left in the middle of busy highways. In one instance, 15 cats and kittens were discovered abandoned in an overcrowded crate.

The three kittens discovered in the back of Terence's garbage truck have their rescuer's excellent hearing to thank for their rescue.

In a follow-up to the original viral video, Terence recalled how he was on the phone when he heard a "high-pitched, muffled noise" that he compared to the sound of a "smoke detector underwater."

Looking inside the truck, he then spotted a "bag was moving." Lifting it up, he spotted a tiny orange kitten. "I couldn't believe it," he said.

After putting the first kitten in the front of his truck, he went back to see if there were any more. That was when he found another female feline. At this point, he said he went into "high gear" to look for more.

"I just started emptying out all the trash in the back of the truck, just sorting through everything. and that's when I found kid number three."

Noticing the disruption, he said a local resident came over to find out what was going on. When they found out about the kittens, they rushed inside their home and returned with a cardboard box and some blankets.

Terence said he was nearing the end of his shift so decided to take the three kittens home where he cleaned them up before setting them up in a little playpen in his house.

Eager to allay some of the concerns expressed by those in the comments' section of the video, Terence posted an update showing the trio looking warm, fluffy and much more relaxed. It can be viewed here.

@turboterry77

part 2!! There was l a total of three kittens. They are all doing well! I would like to thank everybody for the love and support you have shown. Gives me hope that there is still humanity out there with all your support!! Much Love to you all!#rescuecat #rescuekitten #rescueanimals #rescued #kittensaved #savethekitten #catrescue

♬ Paradise - Ikson

Depressingly, he admitted that this kind of thing "happens quite frequently" in his line of work. "Sometimes it's on purpose. Sometimes it's an accident," he said.

Terence estimates they picked up garbage from anywhere between 25 and 30 houses along their route that, making it very difficult to find out who abandoned the cats

He took the kittens to an animal shelter the next day, where they were given a check-up. Thankfully, all three were healthy and well, with staff estimating them to be around 3 weeks old.

Despite that difficult beginning, he also revealed that the trio, whom he and his fiancée christened Ginger, Cinnamon and Clover are thriving, have already moved to a new foster home.

"They're doing very well," he told followers. "Apparently the foster home has a mother cat that has kittens around the same age as the ones that I found. Luckily, she has taken our kittens under her wing and is feeding them and doing what a mother cat should do."

Newsweek has contacted Terence for comment.