The mother is recovering and will be rehomed by her kind-hearted rescuers
The RSPCA is appealing for information after a badly-injured cat was abandoned with her kittens in a layby in Humberside.
The felines were spotted by member of the public Shane Maddison, and were huddled together in undergrowth in the layby on the A1079 Hull Road, Dunswell, on the outskirts of Hull on September 22. Shane, who had pulled over for a break while driving, went to fetch some cat food and milk to entice the cats from their hiding spot.
He issued a social media appeal for help and RSPCA inspector Laura Barber attended the location where Shane and two of his relatives along with two other members of the public were trying to catch the cats.
All five were eventually caught and placed in a cardboard box, although one of the kittens managed to escape from the box triggering an hour-long search before she was rescued again and placed in the safety of the inspector’s cat carrier.
X-rays taken at a local vets showed the mother had suffered serious injuries, including a broken hip and leg. There were fears she may need to have her injured leg amputated, but her condition has since improved while she and her family are being cared for by Shane’s brother, Liam, and sister-in-law Alex Wilde.
Sadly, this is the latest in a growing number of abandonment incidents dealt with by the charity. In September, 1,969 incidents of abandonment were reported to the RSPCA – higher than the number in that month in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The RSPCA has thanked the rescuers for their kindness and plan to help them with a contribution to the costs of health checks and vaccinations as well as microchipping before the cats are rehomed.
The animal charity is also appealing for anyone who may know how the cats came to be left in such desperate circumstances to contact the appeals line number on 0800 123 8018.
Inspector Barber said: “She is a very friendly cat and it was clear she was not feral and has been owned by someone. We don’t know whether she was hit by a car and then gave birth to her kittens among the rubbish at the side of the layby after limping across for shelter or if she was dumped there having already been injured.
“Fortunately, she is making a great recovery. She had a vet check 10 days after she was found and her pelvic bone and leg are healing. There is no need for an amputation to be undertaken and she will continue to get better with more rest.
“We can only thank Shane, his relatives and the other members of the public who attended for taking the time to come to their aid. It was quite a lengthy rescue as at one stage all the kittens were in the box, but then one of them jumped back into the undergrowth.
“We put some smelly food down and when the kitten reappeared, Shane managed to carefully grab her and put her in my carrier.”
Shane’s relatives are so smitten by the feline family that they plan to adopt the mother and are making arrangements to fix up new homes for the kittens with friends. They have called the mother Luna and her kittens Boo, Daphne, Pumpkin and Fred.
Shane said: “I was putting some litter in the bin when I saw Luna and didn’t think anything of it as I thought she was feral, but then two kittens followed her out of the undergrowth. So I went back to the layby with some cat food and milk and she was unbelievably tame.
“When I realised she had four kittens I called my sister-in-law to come and help as I realised that someone had dumped them there. Laura came out after seeing my appeal and we managed eventually to catch Luna and all the kittens.
“My sister-in-law is caring for all of them at the moment and she and my brother have paid all the vet bills for Luna’s treatment and are going to keep her and find homes for her kittens.”
This month the RSPCA launched a month-long Adoptober rehoming campaign because it is facing its biggest rehoming crisis in recent memory. The animal charity’s rescue centres and branches are full to bursting with unwanted animals as more animals come into care than are being adopted.
The number of animals being adopted has been falling in recent years. In 2022, the RSPCA found homes for 27,535 animals – but that’s 30% less than three years ago (in 2019) – when 39,178 animals were rehomed.