Where there’s life, there is always hope, and a mother cat and her newborn kittens found living in a bird’s nest is the ideal way to illustrate this. Despite the harsh circumstances that could have led her to give birth and raise her young ones in a nest, the cat catered to them in the best way she could. Finally, she and her kittens can be assured of a blissful future because plans to give them permanent homes are underway. The mother has found love in a male cat willing to stick by her side and be a father to the kittens. It may seem like a Disney storyline, but it is all true, as detailed below.
The Discovery of the Strange Living Arrangement
When Ruth Goller, a volunteer at the Chiltern Branch of Cats Protection, heard the news of a dead newborn kitten found in a local woman’s garden, curiosity got the better of her. According to Belfast Telegraph, Goller set up cameras and searched the neighboring gardens wondering where the mother cat and rest of the litter was. It took a week before one morning when the mother cat showed up accompanied by a tomcat. The volunteer noticed that the two kitties had bonded, and from her feeding, Goller could tell that it was the mother cat and she was still breastfeeding. The mystery of where the mother kept her kittens remained. Determined to find the kittens, Goller befriended the lovebirds and followed them until she saw the mum go up a tree. The volunteer needed a closer look to ensure that the kittens were here, so she climbed onto some containers and saw the mum nursing her three kittens as they lay in a nest. The tomcat had taken on a fatherly role and watched from a distance.
Rehoming the Cats
Cats Protection got the cats out of living in the bird’s nest. Unfortunately, the male cat had an abscess that had caused a bad limp, so he was taken to the vet. It healed quickly, enabling him to join the rest of his new cat family. According to Newsweek, he had bonded with the kitten so much that he enjoyed bathing and playing with them. However, the kittens were yet to understand that he did not have any milk for them, which seemed to annoy the tomcat. Still, the charitable organization’s secretary, Kathryn Graves, could not help but be shocked by the incident. She had never seen a tomcat sticking around to raise the kittens. Since the kittens are still very young, the organizations posted they are not accepting adoption applications. Instead, they sought a foster mum, Sue Buck, to care for the family. Due to the circumstances under which they were found, all the cats were named after English bird names. The mother is Oriole, and her love interest is Willet, while the kittens are Lori, Bran, and Jay. Buck hopes that the lovebirds can be rehomed together to maintain the bond they have developed.
It is Not a Unique Case Scenario
As much as a cat choosing to raise her kittens in a bird’s nest is strange, it is not the first time for such a case to make headlines. According to ABC News, Henry McGauley, who lives in Ireland, heard squawking one morning. He was curious to know the source thus climbed on a ladder to investigate and was surprised that four kittens in a pigeon’s nest in a tree at the back of his garden. Since they were yet to open their eyes, Fiona McGauley concluded they were only a few days old. She reasoned it was best to leave them there for the mother to continue nursing them.
The couple kept an eye on the kittens, and when they went to check on them later, they found the mother. It turned out that they knew the cat; they had spotted her several times in the alley, heavily pregnant before she disappeared. Maybe the fact that the Irish couple kept feeding stray cats had prompted the mother cat to give birth in their backyard, hoping to get food frequently. Fiona hoped the cat would take the kittens out to the couple’s back door for feeding once they were ready for weaning.
The mother was responsible, so she could not risk her kittens getting sick when it rained heavily. She moved them to a much safer place, probably beneath the shed. The excitement after seeing the kittens was too much for Fiona to withhold from her customers. Therefore she told them about the kittens, and they could not wait for the kittens to grow older and be ready for adoption. Until then, Fiona planned to foster them, tame them and find them forever homes.
Can Male Cats Make Good Fathers?
Graves found Willet to be one-of-a-kind, and she has every right to be awestruck. According to The Nest, tomcats are good at increasing the feline population but then leave the parenting to the mother cat. What’s worse is that tomcats are notorious for killing kittens they have not sired. It is believed to be a protective instinct because it prevents rivals from overtaking the feline population with their many offspring. On the other hand, female cats are maternal and will even babysit and nurse another cat’s kittens. Fortunately, there is always a chance for tomcats to go against the grain, and Willet proved that not all male cats are a threat to kittens.
Due to the instinct for tomcats to be aggressive to the kittens, cat owners are advised to be careful. Unsupervised interaction between the male kitties and kittens is discouraged, and you should only introduce the young ones to the male cat once they are at least six weeks old. Still, given a chance, tomcats could surprise you. Dianne Meriwether’s story as published by HuffPost is enough proof that male cats can make good fathers. Meriwether was raised with the firm belief that tomcats eat kittens. So when a feral cat showed up at her house and started caring for the kittens, she can testify that there are indeed extraordinary fathers in the feline species.