Two kittens could have permanent breathing difficulties after they were coloured in with marker pens, a cat rescue centre has said.
The one-month-old cats, named Smurf and Shrek in accordance with their brightly dyed coats, were handed into Bradford Cat Watch Rescue in West Yorkshire by police on Monday evening.
Katie Lloyd, care coordinator at the rescue centre, said she could not believe it when the kittens were brought in covered in blue and green ink.
She was told the cats were blue and so brought out a nebuliser ready for their arrival, but was "totally shocked" when she discovered they had been drawn on with permanent marker.
"At first I believed I was getting cats with breathing difficulties because they were blue," she said.
But the ink could have a long-term impact on the kittens, who it is believed were "colour-coded" ahead of being thrown to a pack of dogs.
It is believed that players would bet on which animal would die first, and they were coloured so each person's kitten could be identified.
READ MORE: Kittens coloured with pens ready to be thrown to savage dogs
Ms Lloyd continued: "It could have affected the lungs because they were having breathing difficulties when they arrived.
"It could affect the skin, it could cause infections, irritations, it could infect anything really - the whole respiratory system. And psychologically as well, but they don't seem overall psychologically affected."
A lot of the ink on the cat's bodies has now come off, Ms Lloyd said, but added that she was cautious washing their faces.
"The areas where we're struggling is around the face and the reason for that is we don't want it dripping into the eyes, nose or mouth because, believe me, it's permanent," she said, adding that washing off the ink was now turning her own skin blue and green.
"We don't want them to get it in the eyes because its probably permanent like Sharpie or something like that, a permanent marker. We don't want it to get into the eyes, ears, nose or mouth."
In a statement on the rescue centre's website, Ms Lloyd wrote: "We often consider ourselves to be unshockable... We have dealt with most situations but this is a first."
The rescue centre, which has had a flurry of donations after the rescue, will seek to re-home the kittens when they are ready.