The snow was coming down way too much for Ken McKibbon as he drove uphill along O'Connor Lake Road on Saturday.
He was out hunting, looking for moose and bear as he usually does at this time of year. He decided to cut his day short.
"It was snowing pretty heavily that day, especially up there."
At a pullout a few kilometres from where the road intersects with Westsyde Road, he stopped to secure his guns.
"It's on a pullout where a lot of people throw out their animal remains from the game they shoot," he recalled Monday.
Instead of finding remains tossed into the bush along the side, he saw a blue plastic Petmate Pet Taxi, the front cage door open.
Inside, huddled together on a freezing cold and wet pink blanket, were five kittens, barely old enough to eat on their own.
No one else was in sight — no people, no mother cat, nothing.
"They were in a pet carrier with the door open for wild animals to get at them," he said.
"I've been up there and seen coyotes, cougar and bears. If they'd heard kittens mewing, that's a free meal."
He grabbed his camera and took some photos of the kittens as he found them.
"They were very cold. The blanket in there was soaked and almost frozen. There was no food in there whatsoever. They were all huddled in the back corner," he said.
Then he hustled them into his truck and fired up the heat to get them warm.
"I called my mom immediately and she said, 'Bring them here and get some food.'"
He stopped by a pet store, then took the kittens to his mother's house, where they were given food, water and milk. That's when he got a better look at them and noticed some had colouring on their fur.
"They were pretty thin, especially the runt — the white one," he said.
"Someone had given them stupid hair cuts. One had a Mohawk."
McKibbon called the RCMP and the SPCA to report the abandonment. He's hoping someone will recognize the kittens or the carrier and name whoever is responsible for what he considers a cruel act.
The kittens wouldn't have survived the night in that carrier, the temperature was below freezing and the tiny creatures were a couple of snowy kilometres from the nearest farmhouse.
He posted the photo on his Facebook page and got immediate kudos for saving the five little lives. He also got offers from friends and family willing to take the kittens. By Monday night, all were delivered to good homes.
The white runt of the litter was named Pearl. She was still so small, she had to be fed by a syringe.
Kamloops SPCA animal-care attendant Sarah Gerow said she didn't know any details of McKibbon's report as she wasn't working Saturday. But it would have been referred to the cruelty investigations department, she said.
"You can be charged with abandonment," she said.
She didn't know if someone had taken a crate full of kittens to the shelter on Saturday, but said the agency does try to accommodate people in those situations, especially with such young animals.
BCSPCA manager of cruelty investigations Shawn Eccles said if the person responsible is charged and found guilty, he or she can face large fines and/or prison of up to two years less a day.
A charge of abandonment can be laid under either the Criminal Code or the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. He urged anyone with information about the case to call the Kamloops SPCA at 376-7722.
McKibbon would like to see the person responsible face some consequences.
"I hope they get caught and get prosecuted or fined. That's just cruel. I was not pleased about it. I was pretty angry."
While he likes cats, he couldn't keep any of the ones he found.
"Unfortunately, I'm allergic to long-haired cats," he said.
"I'm more of a dog person anyway."