AMERSHAM, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, UK: Highly unusually, a tabby stray cat made a den for herself and her three kittens in a bird’s nest in a tree. Also, unusually, a tomcat was watching over the kittens as well. Cats Protection, a cat charity in the UK manned by foster carers, have taken in the cats, provided them with medical attention and handed them to a fosterer in the hope and expectation that the mother and the male can be rehomed together and the kittens also found homes.
They were in a tree next to an industrial site and it took a Cat Protection volunteer Ruth Goller a week to find them after she was alerted to their presence. They named the mother Oriole. The male cat, who is presumed to be the father, has been named Willet and the kittens Bran, Jay and Lori.
Goller had to clamber up containers to get to the height of the nest which is when she saw the mother feeding her three kittens “right in front of me”. She also said that: “The male was watching from nearby”. Branch secretary of the charity Kathryn Graves said: “It is very unusual for a tomcat to stick around after kittens have been born. In fact, I’ve never seen it before.”
Comment: the bird’s nest was abandoned but it is possibly a first or at least I’ve never read about this before: a cat to make a birth den from a bird’s nest and raise her newborn kittens in it. Perhaps she had moved them to the bird’s nest from the birth den.
Strictly speaking we don’t know whether the tomcat referred to is the father although Cats Protection seem to think that he is. The reason I say this is because females may be inseminated by as many as 10 different males and some litters have more than one father.
The report is on the BBC website.
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