Lockdown closed many buildings over the last few months. Taylor Pitstop on the Balcombe Road in Horley was no exception. This normally busy site was deserted, and pregnant cat Mia decided that the roof space above the offices was the perfect spot to have her kittens.
Strange noises were heard in the roof
On reopening, the staff in the office building heard strange noises in the roof. These were too loud to be mice, rats or even birds, and so one of the staff members borrowed a ladder and climbed up to the narrow roof space with a flashlight to investigate…
What a surprise on peering into the darkness, to find staring right back at him in the torchlight, several pairs of bright reflective eyes… surrounded by fluffy black and white faces.
A perilous hideout
Although the roof space was dry, warm and safe from predators, it was a far from ideal place for these little kittens to be brought up. How would the kittens get out? The only access to this space was to scale a 2-metre high wall, which Mum Mia had been doing day-in and day-out since giving birth.
Mia had to leave the kittens to hunt for food every day, to ensure she could produce enough milk to feed her four hungry and growing babies. It is very likely that she was regularly crossing the once-quiet Balcombe Road, to get to the fields and woodlands opposite, in search of mice. However, as lockdown eased, crossing the increasingly busy road was becoming more perilous.
On receiving the news about this little family in need of help, one of our Felines 1st volunteers went down to the offices, and with the help from staff, set a trap in the roof. Over the course of five days, all four kittens and Mum were caught, and brought into care.
How are they all doing now?
The kittens, around 10 weeks old, are all doing well, and have been named Gloria, Marty, Melman and King Julian! Mum Mia came in with half of her tail completely bald. It is unclear why she lost the fur from her tail – whether it was stripped in an accident or she had a severe allergic reaction to fleas is still unknown. She is currently being treated for this at the vet.
The fosterer caring for this little family is spending lots of time with the kittens to get them used to humans. Fortunately they are young enough to adjust to living with people – the older they become, the harder this is.
We will ensure that they are properly socialised, healthy, microchipped, vaccinated and neutered before rehoming. If the new owners would like to adopt them before it is recommended to neuter, then they must agree to get this done by a vet as soon as the kittens are old enough, and provide proof that this has been done. This will ensure that none of these kittens will end up in a similar position to their Mum, risking life and limb to cross a busy road to feed her little family.