A team of builders in Belfast got more than they bargained for when they found a litter of five newborn kittens and their mother curled up in a dirty sheet.
Keen to get them to a place of safety, the crew - based on a building site in the BT13 area of the city - scooped up the little family and knocked on the door of a nearby house.
The lady living there, who was very excited by the furry bundle, then took them to a veterinary surgery.
Vets contacted the Cats Protection’s Belfast Adoption Centre where the cat and kittens are now being cared for.
“The mum had clearly gone into the building site to find a quiet, safe place to have her babies,” said Bel Livingstone, manager of Cats Protection’s Belfast Adoption Centre.
“Sadly one of the kittens was born with deformities and didn’t survive. The vet checked over the others and gave them the all clear, and they are presently cosy in our maternity unit and are all doing well.”
Staff and volunteers at the centre have fallen in love with the four remaining kittens - and are also full of admiration for their mother, who has been named Persephone after the Greek god of spring.
The kittens, rescued last month, have been named Arya, Bran, Meera and Sansa, after characters from Game of Thrones, the HBO drama which was largely filmed in Belfast and across Northern Island.
Although the kittens and mum won’t be ready for rehoming for a while, Cats Protection’ Belfast Adoption Centre has plenty of other cats who are looking for their forever homes: https://belfast.cats.org.uk/.
Cats Protection’s Belfast Adoption Centre works hard to find loving homes for every feline that comes into its care - but one of the charity’s main aims is to encourage the neutering of cats and kittens to ensure there will be fewer unwanted felines in the future.
“Neutering offers many benefits to cats and owners alike,” said Bel.
“A neutered cat is less likely to spray, less likely to roam and also less likely to fight. Neutering also helps guard against disease as fighting cats are more at risk of life-threatening diseases that can be transmitted through biting and saliva.”
Cats Protection is offering means-tested neutering for £5 at every vet practice in Northern Ireland and most vets are also offering microchipping for an additional £5 to everyone using the scheme.
For more information, visit: www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/neutering/current-neutering-campaigns/northern-ireland-campaign