Mum’s the word: Foster carer takes on maternal role for Battersea kittens dumped in a cardboard box

This Mother’s Day (11 March), a litter of newborn kittens abandoned in a cardboard box are celebrating the dedicated foster carers at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
 
For animals like these, having a foster carer means so much more than having a temporary home – it can mean the difference between life and death.
 
The four-day-old kittens were left outside in a cardboard box in mid-February as temperatures began to drop in London. The three tiny cats were so young that their eyes hadn’t even opened yet and there was no sign of their mother.
 
A local animal rescue centre took them in, but didn’t have the resources to give the helpless kittens the constant care they needed, so they called in Battersea to help.
 
The abandoned litter – one girl and two boys, affectionately named Miss Honey (from Matilda), Von Trapp (after Maria from The Sound of Music) and Poppins (after Mary) - are now being hand-reared by a member of Battersea staff who volunteered to be their foster mum.
 
Hand-rearing kittens is a very tiring but rewarding role as kittens need to be bottle-fed every two hours to begin with – including through the night. They also need to check that the kittens are toileting properly, essentially doing the job the mother cat would be doing.
 
JoAnna Puzzo, Cattery Team Leader at Battersea, said: “We believe someone’s pet had given birth to a litter of kittens and the owners just didn’t know what to do with them. It was incredibly risky to take them away from their mother and leave them on their own overnight -  they’re so vulnerable and helpless at this stage.
 
“At Battersea we would always advise to book an appointment to bring any animal in. We would never judge and it’s much better for the pet so that we can get as much
background information as possible. We also strongly advise getting your cat neutered to avoid any unwanted litters in the future.
 
“Luckily, these baby kittens have now found a new temporary mummy - probably not one they were expecting, but a mum all the same, giving them their basic needs and lots of love. We’re all so grateful for the tireless care of our foster carers.”
 
Fortunately these kittens have all got loving new homes lined up once they’re ready to go, but Battersea has many more cats looking for their cat mums (and dads), for more information, please visit www.battersea.org.uk
 
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For more information and images please contact press@battersea.org.uk or 020 7627 9333.
 
You can download some adorable photos and videos of the kittens being bottle-fed here.
 
Notes to editors 
  • Battersea is always on the lookout for empathetic and compassionate people who could be foster carers for many dogs and cats. Foster carers can expect to receive regular contact and advice from Battersea expert staff and access to all necessary equipment and resources.
  • Battersea has over 1,200 volunteers and foster carers who lend their support in over 40 roles including hand-rearing kittens and puppies, directly caring for its homeless animals offering much needed support.
  • In 2016, 179 puppies and kittens were hand-reared through the night.
  • Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. We are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society. 
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • In 2016 the Home cared for over 7,000 dogs and cats.
  • Battersea cares for an average of 270 dogs and 200 cats across its three centres at any one time.
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at the charity but the average stay for a dog is 35 days and 22 days for a cat.
  • For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home please visit www.battersea.org.uk.
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ or facebook.com/Battersea