Violeta Martinez, a 23-year-old California PetSmart employee, took to TikTok to share a heartbreaking video after she discovered a kitten abandoned in a cardboard box outside the store early one morning.
“The only thing I hate about coming in in the mornings or closing at nights is walking up to the door … and finding this,” Martinez said in her Aug. 7 video, which has since been viewed 5.3M times. “I don’t even want to know what’s inside, but obviously I’m going to look because I’m a caring person who cares for pets.”
As she cuts open the box, which had apparently been punctured to let in air, Martinez begins to speculate there may be a cat inside after hearing some meowing.
Eventually, she successfully opens the taped box, revealing a tiny orange kitten inside.
“What happened? They left you outside?” Martinez says to comfort the scared kitten in her video. “It’s okay.”
“Guys, I’m asking all of you, please don’t do this, they get really scared, look at her,” she tells viewers. “I don’t understand why people do this, but obviously, we’re going to take care of her.”
TikTokers were understandably heartbroken over the video, with many slamming the pet-owners irresponsible behavior.
“So sad,” one wrote. “People really don’t understand that owning a pet is a lifetime commitment.”
“What’s the address on the shipping label, just wanna talk to them,” said another.”
“I prefer people leaving their animals in front of a pet store or a vet than dumping them on the road,” argued a third. “At least they have a chance at a good life.”
Although leaving an animal outside of a PetSmart may seemingly increase its chances of being found by someone who will care for it, no guarantees can be made with the method, which may still constitute animal abandonment.
A safer approach to finding a new home for a pet you can no longer care for is by contacting the Animal Humane Society, which says it will take in “every animal surrendered to us regardless of its health, age, breed, or behavior.”
In a followup video, Martinez revealed that thankfully, one of her coworkers decided to adopt the kitten and provide it a forever home.
Although Martinez believes the kitten’s former owner likely “had good intentions leaving it at a PetSmart assuming we would take it in,” she still condemned their actions as irresponsible.
“I am not okay with people abandoning pets,” Martinez said.
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