On Monday 24 September, we took a call from a lady who had seen a cat & kittens that she was concerned about. Deputy Manager Phil and CCA Diane went out straight away to check the situation and see if they could rescue them and bring them back to the adoption centre. The site was on the right of this photo where the bridge over the dual carriageway goes into the trees.
They had to use a cat trap to catch them safely as they could not get close enough to handle them and they were very nervous. They don’t get hurt in this but once they walk in the open end to eat some food, the pedal they stand on releases the catch holding up the open door and then they can’t get out again.
Mum was the first in the trap that evening but we needed her babies to come out or they might have been in danger of dying without her there to feed them. We weren’t sure how old they were and if they had started to eat solid food yet.
We moved mum from the cat trap into a crusher basket. It is called this as the side is able to be moved to allow treatment to be given to a cat that may not tolerate being handled. She was very afraid but did not lash out or try to bite.
Then, we had to wait. And wait… and wait. Due to the location, this meant standing on top of the bridge in view of passing pedestrians and cyclists. We had lots of attention from the public wondering what we were doing. We also met a few cat lovers who had previously adopted from our centre.
We had been told that there were either 4 or 6 kittens so we had to be patient and make sure we had seen them all. It was Tuesday before we were able to trap any of them and we returned to the bridge with mum. In the morning, 2 went into the trap for some food. Then a few hours later 5 came out for food and we caught 3 more in the trap. 2 of the kittens ran back under the bridge when the trap went off. When they were hungry again after a nap, they came out for some more food. This time there were 3 kittens. We had more trouble catching these and managed to get 2 of them but the smallest ran away. It was clear we would have to find another way to get the last one. CCA Christie was then asked to join the rescue party. So now we had 7 kittens and 1 still to catch.
CCA Christie returned the next day and waited for hours. The little one didn’t come out. When she came back in the afternoon, it came out from under the bridge and she was able to act quickly by covering it with a large towel and scooping it into a cat carrier. This little kitten was very’ lucky’ to have been rescued so that is what we named her.
All of the kittens are very nervous like mum as they have not had any human contact before. They improve very quickly when they are so small and we believed they were less than 6 weeks old as they still had blue eyes. Our patient love and attention means they are slowly beginning to trust humans.
Living under a bridge is no place to look after a litter of kittens but that is what this pretty young tabby had to do. We have named her Unicorn and she has 8 lovely kittens.
4 girls- Aspen, Betony, Haddero and Lucky and 4 boys-Digby, Norman, Russell and Rydon. Haddero and Rydon are tabby like mum and the other 6 are black.