Three tiny kittens who were plucked to safety after becoming trapped in a narrow drainpipe are now looking for new homes.
The three - named Joseph, Noah and Magdalena - were just three weeks old when they were found huddled in a four-inch wide rainwater pipe, with their three littermates and feral mother close by.
Now eight-weeks-old, the black-and-white siblings are all looking for new owners after recovering from their ordeal at Cats Protection’s National Cat Adoption Centre, in Chelwood Gate.
The kittens were taken to the centre after being rescued from the drainpipe in Essex.
Rescuer Alison Gambles, who works for Cats Protection in the county, said: “We had a report from a local resident who could hear meowing coming from the drain in the ground, beneath the guttering and under the grate. I went to have a look and found three of the kittens with their mother hiding under the flowerbeds.
“A while later, there was still the sound of meowing and after a lot of rummaging around we found three more inside the drainpipe, one of which was almost wedged inside the U-bend. As the kittens had just reached the age when they could crawl, we can only guess that they had been born under the surrounding shrubbery and had fallen into the drain.
“The mother had been a feral stray and was only aged around six months herself. She was clearly a devoted mother and although she couldn’t reach into the drain to get her kittens out, she hadn’t left them.
“She had done a terrific job raising six kittens, as they were in remarkably good condition. They all needed flea treatment and lots of socialising to get them used to people, but now they are all happy, healthy kittens.
“Stray female cats will always do their best to find a safe, quiet hiding spot to have their kittens, and that’s what their mother had tried to do. It is very lucky there had not been significant rainfall, as the water from the guttering could easily have drowned them. And it was fortunate that a local resident had heard them, as they would have soon become dehydrated and would not have survived if left for much longer.”
Three of the kittens have already found homes, but three others are still seeking owners.
Their mother – named Amy by volunteers – has since been neutered and found a new owner on an outdoor home.
Adoption centre deputy manager Karen Thompson said: “Feral cats like Amy are those which never received sufficient human contact as kittens, normally because they were born in the wild to feral or stray mothers. When they live on the streets like this, they can start breeding at a very young age, and the cycle continues.
“Like all stray mums, poor Amy had a very gruelling life on the streets. All her strength would have gone into keeping her kittens safe, and at only six months old she was still very young herself. Had she not been discovered, she could have gone on to have up to three litters of kittens a year, all of which would have faced a bleak future.
“Cats Protection helps to break the cycle of ferals breeding through its neutering work and finds outdoor homes on farms, smallholdings and stables for cats like Amy.
“Fortunately, these kittens were found while still young enough to be socialised and they are now lovely, fun-loving and friendly kittens who will all make wonderful pets.”
To find out more about adopting Joseph, Noah or Magdalena email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the centre in Chelwood Gate, on the A275 between Wych Cross and Danehill.