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    • Rescue Stories
    • 03 Jul, 2019

    Tiny kitten is the only survivor from her litter

    Whilst it’s a myth that a mother cat will automatically reject her newborn kittens if they are touched by humans, there are sadly many more real reasons why this unfortunate occurrence can happen.

    If the mother is in distress or lives in an unsafe environment, if she or any of the kittens becomes unwell, or if she feels threatened for any reason, then her natural response may be to conserve her energy into caring for herself and perhaps just one of two of the ‘healthiest’ newborns.

    Three-year-old tabby Lois and her tiny daughter Kara are sadly an example of such a situation.

    Lois was a heavily pregnant stray who had somehow been separated from her previous owner, and therefore was forced to give birth in a stranger’s garden shed. This made her incredibly stressed and worried, and sadly led to her feeling unable to cope with her four newborns. She refused to feed them, and tragically, three of the four kittens passed away.

    Against all odds, one kitten – Kara – managed to survive, and was luckily discovered by the shed owner in the nick of time. Upon finding Lois, Kara and the three deceased kittens in his shed, the homeowner called Mayhew for help and advice.

    Our Animal Welfare Officers went straight out to collect the surviving felines, and to offer support to the homeowner whilst they sorted out his upsetting discovery. We then brought Lois and Kara back to Mayhew, where both were checked over by our team of vets. Kara was estimated to be no more than five-weeks-old, and still had her eyes shut.

    Lois was obviously severely agitated, and our vets discovered she was suffering from what seemed like a flea allergy rash across her neck and back. She was also clearly in a significant amount of pain from a flea collar that had its end sewn together, making it far too tight for her and impossible to remove. This had caused bleeding and scabbing on her throat.

    mother cat

    Our vets removed the collar and gave Lois flea and worm treatment, before settling her into a soft, quiet cabin in our Kitten Block to recover. Our Animal Welfare Officers hoped that it was not too late for her to bond with Kara, now that both were in a safe and secure place, and so the tiny kitten was placed at her side under careful observation.

    Surprisingly, Kara herself was in remarkable condition given her tough start in life, and soon showed herself to be a friendly and lively little kitten.


    Our Cattery staff supported her feeding and development whilst at the same time encouraging Lois to take an interest; and, to everyone’s joy and delight, after a couple of days spent resting, Lois’s maternal instincts finally seemed to kick in.

    Lois began feeding Kara, and slowly started to lick her head and nuzzle her close. Our vets then gave Lois some anti-anxiety medication to help her remain calm around Kara, who was becoming more bouncy and boisterous by the day.

    The medication seemed to help, and both mother and daughter eventually bonded – with Lois finally appearing to be happy and at peace.

    mum and kitten Lois and Kara

    Whilst neither Lois nor Kara are quite ready for rehoming yet, we are all delighted by their progress so far. We are keeping everything crossed that both cats will get the happy ending they so desperately desire and deserve, as soon as the time is right.

    To keep up to date with their story and find out when Lois and Kara are available for adoption, sign up to our cat alerts here.


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