Abandoned kittens found under a duck, adopted by a maternal cat
Five newborn kittens are 'feline' good after being adopted by a duck.
On Monday a Taranaki woman went to check on her pet duck only to find five teeny-tiny kittens bundled underneath the fowl, alongside its eggs.
The kittens' mother was nowhere to be found but a trap had been set in the hopes of finding it, SPCA spokeswoman Jackie Poles Smith said.
"Someone did not love her or care for her and then to have newborn kittens, she's scared and has run off to look after herself."
After the kittens were handed in, Poles Smith said the North Taranaki SPCA followed the protocol of pairing a mother cat with the newborns by introducing the babies to Pepper.
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Pepper, a calico cat, had come into the shelter in mid-November as a pregnant stray.
One week later, she gave birth to one, little, grey kitten.
"It's unusual to have just one kitten," Poles Smith said.
Poles Smith said Pepper immediately took to the new kittens like they were her own.
The stray calico cat began to nuzzle, groom and feed the five babies, welcoming them to the warmth of her bed, she said.
"She's been so good. We were really happy she took right to them.
"It's really variable for cats to take kittens."
A foster family will pick up Pepper and the five kittens on Wednesday, caring for them for about two months.
"When the kittens are eight weeks old, then Pepper will be looking for a home."
And while it seems like a happy ending to a cute story, Poles Smith feared the rest of the kitten season.
"We have 100 kittens in foster care and it's just the beginning of the season," she said.
"I'm really worried because it's a long season and it's only just begun."
Smith said the SPCA was in need of volunteers to care for cats until they could find a forever home.
"We're desperately looking for more fosters as we're already at capacity."
She urged pet owners to de-sex animals to help prevent the ever-increasing population of abandoned kittens.
"We find boxes in the park or at our front door," she said.
And if pet lovers were unable to foster, Smith said the SPCA could use some donations.
"We are in need of canned kitten food and kitty litter."