A feline mother-of-one has taken four orphaned kittens under her wing after their mother was killed in a car accident.
Despite her own heartache, beautiful black cat Ebony is bringing up four other kittens as her own.
Ebony was brought to our Burford rehoming centre in May when her her owner could no longer give her the care she needed.
As with all pets who come into our centres, we gave Ebony a full health check and, to our surprise, discovered she was pregnant. Days later, it was time for Ebony’s kittens to arrive but she had difficulties giving birth and while one kitten survived, sadly, one kitten was stillborn.
We were devastated when one of Ebony’s kittens didn’t survive. It is heartbreaking to see the pets in our care in distress. Lydia Sawyer, Animal Welfare Supervisor, Burford rehoming centre
Ebony did have one healthy kitten, a silver tabby called Jude, and both mum and baby were doing well shortly after their ordeal.
Two weeks later, we were contacted by a distraught pet owner who told us their cat had been hit by a car and killed, leaving four two-week-old kittens at home without a mum.
The owner was in desperate need of advice of how to care for kittens so small and so young, so a member of our Burford team went to their home to check on the youngsters and help the owner.
Lydia said: “Caring for kittens of such a young age is really hard work and involves 24-hour round-the-clock care. It’s too much for most pet owners to cope with, so we offered to take the kittens in to give them a good chance of surviving without their mum.”
Young kittens get everything they need from their mother. She feeds them, grooms them, and helps them go to the toilet.
When kittens are orphaned we do everything we can to step into mum’s paws, but they are best cared for by their own species, so we decided to see if Ebony would help.
Slowly, we introduced Pepper, Rita, Penny and Johnny to Ebony and her own kitten, Jude.
The new mum knew just what to do, and took the four parentless kittens in as her own.
Over the next few weeks, Ebony brought the five playful kittens up as one family in a Blue Cross foster home. When they weren’t eating, the kittens spent their days racing around the house and having great fun, before curling up for a snooze.
Lydia added: “We urge owners to get their pets neutered, not just for health reasons, but to avoid the stress and heartache that complications can cause both the cat and kittens. Sadly, birthing complications and the loss of mum don’t usually end happily.”
Once all five kittens were old enough, we found happy new homes for Ebony and her extended litter and they are all very much loved.