Three tiny kittens are lucky to be alive after being discovered by builders under the floorboards of a former restaurant which was about to be demolished.
George Harman and his team heard the kittens’ cries during work at the site in Cane End, Reading, and quickly set about locating where the desperate little meows were coming from.
On looking down a hole in the floor they found a black kitty crying for its mother, and removed the floorboards to save it. Half-an-hour later, they came across a second kitten 10 metres away - but then, there were still more cries.
George Harman, Project Manager at Bellwood Homes, said: “The third kitten was THE challenge. We had heard more cries in the room but then there was silence. When it started crying again we managed to trace the noise to a bay window.
“We removed more and more flooring but we still couldn’t see a kitten anywhere. We could still hear the cries and then we realised they were coming from inside the wall.
“We started to remove each block by hand, gently tapping the blocks with a hammer trying to loosen them without causing any disruption or discomfort to the kitten. We removed 10 concrete blocks in total to find that a third kitten had somehow got into the cavity of the building.”
The whole rescue effort took the team around three hours.
George added: “The kittens looked to be in a pretty poorly state with gunk around their eyes. They were covered in cobwebs, dirt and dust and were so small you could feel every bone in their body. I can only imagine that they were starving hungry.”
Sadly there was no sign of the kittens’ mother so George took them to the Blue Cross’s rehoming centre in Lewknor, Oxfordshire.
The kittens were so young that they initially required round-the-clock care, having to be bottle-fed every four hours.
Now aged seven weeks the siblings, who have been named Bill, Elle and Beatrix, are getting stronger by the day and already have new homes lined up to go to soon.
Laura Smart, Animal Welfare Assistant at Blue Cross Lewknor, fostered the kittens at her home.
She said: “When they first came into us they needed feeding every four hours. One of the kittens, Elle, had a really bad eye which was glued shut and ulcerated.
“After lots of TLC, they are all getting stronger by the day. Elle is very affectionate and cuddly and loves laying and falling asleep on her back.
“Bill is very confident and loves exploring. He walks around my house like he owns it, while Beatrix is really cute – she manages to fall asleep in my hand.”
Blue Cross sees a huge increase in stray cats and kittens being brought into our rehoming centres and hospitals across the country during the summer months.
Owners are reminded to neuter and microchip their cats and to keep their address and contact details for the microchip up to date.
Some 80 per cent of cats brought into Blue Cross for rehoming in 2017 were not microchipped, and we believe that many suspected strays actually had loving homes – but without a microchip or collar, there is no way of reuniting the pet with its owner.