THIS is Lucky, the four-week-old kitten taken from from his mother and rescued with only 24 hours to spare.

Now the RSPCA is to step up security after two women called at the RSPCA shelter, in Redcross Street, on Saturday afternoon and immediately took an interest in the tiny kitten.

They were told he was too young to be taken from his mother.

But 30 minutes later staff made a shocking discovery that the catpod’s door had been forced open and the black kitten was missing.

Fortunately, a concerned supporter of the charity found the animal quite by chance and returned him to the shelter, where his ordeal has earned him the name ‘Lucky’.

Had he been found a day later it could have been a very different story, according to Jean Spencer, manager of the shelter.

She said: “We were very concerned about the kitten. If he hadn’t been found in 48 hours he would have been dead.

“We were devastated when he disappeared and there were tears in our eyes, but they became tears of joy when he was found by one of our supporters.

“She had disovered it on Sunday at a house she visited. I must stress the two women who visited the shelter do not live there.”

Returning to the shelter slightly dehydrated, Lucky is said to be making a swift recovery aided by his foster mum, Heidi, a cat who has adopted the abandoned little one as if he was her own.

But the shelter is now looking to introduce CCTV in the cattery to prevent further thefts, along with extra bolts on the pens.

“It is absolutely disgusting that someone could take such a vulnerable animal,” added Mrs Spencer.

“We are going to have to launch a fund-raising appeal to have some cameras installed.

“In the meantime, we will be looking to press charges when these women are caught.”