This feline family had a rough start in life, having been found in the most unlikely of places: a forgotten washing machine. No longer fit for purpose, the household appliance came to have another useful function. But the adventure for the kittens inside was far from over.
A female worker at a florist shop in Edgware, U.K., was pottering around outside in the garden behind the business. However, instead of finding more stock for the shopfloor, the employee came across something quite unexpected.
An old washing machine had been sitting there among the weeds for a very long time; indeed, so many plants had started to grow around it that nature had claimed it for its own. What’s more, a pregnant, untamed cat had clearly decided that this was the ideal place to have her litter and raise her young. It was perfectly private and quiet, so she made the most of this small oasis that nobody knew about but her. Or so she thought. In fact, her hiding place was about to be uncovered.
Looking inside the drum of the machine, the florist made her startling discovery. She had stumbled upon the birthplace of four kittens! Amazed, the staff member put a call in to a nearby shelter, The Mayhew Animal Home. Workers there then arranged to collect the tiny bunch of newborns.
“When kittens get to around five weeks old they start to move about and this was when they were spotted by the lady,” recounted Tania Mazzoni, who works at the animal charity in Kensal Green, London. So it wasn’t so much a case of curiosity killed the cat, rather curiosity saved the cat!
Having placed the call, the lady from the florist found a box for the kittens and rounded them up, ready to be transported. However, it wasn’t going to be as easy to transport the mom. She wasn’t domesticated and would probably be unhappy about being picked up.
When they got to the scene, the shelter workers performed all the usual cautionary checks. Furthermore, they made sure that none of the siblings had wandered off and been left behind. Then, when they arrived back at the animal home, the cute kittens were given a medical and pronounced healthy and very lucky!
For the mother, though, the shelter had a different tactic, as Mazzoni made clear. “As the kittens’ mom was a feral cat, we left a trap down for her,” she said. “We were then able to bring her into our home where she was neutered and health checked by our [veterinary] team, and then we returned her back where she was found, as a part of our Trap, Neuter and Return program,” she continued.
Designed to help limit the numbers of feral cats on the streets of London, the animal home started their scheme in 1996. It provides an ideal solution for cats like this brave mom, who was returned to her old neighborhood in Burnt Oak, Edgware. The familiar territory meant that she could have her old hunting ground back, as well as her independence.
Mazzoni went on to say that there’s method behind the moggy’s apparent madness in giving birth in such an odd place. That’s because feline moms prefer to find tucked-away spots, for example beneath beds or sofas. “It’s actually quite common for domestic cats to give birth in washing machines as it’s like a private cubby hole for them,” she said.
Moreover, the kittens were given lots of TLC at the shelter, which gave their (probably exhausted) mother a break. On top of this, they were also awarded names. Someone must have had a sense of humour when it came to deciding what to call them; the four kittens now have the fitting monikers Daz, Ariel, Persil and Surf.
Furthermore, the family were happily adjusting to life living outside of a household appliance, when the animal shelter received an unexpected call. As it turned out, and to their great surprise, there had been another kitten in the litter.
Even more amazingly, and despite having to fend for itself, this kitten was still alive. Surprise turned to relief, and four became five. The plucky newcomer had managed to survive, in spite of being all alone.
“We were shocked when we received the call from the florists saying they had found another kitten but were so glad that she was okay,” Mazzoni stated. Against the odds, she was in good health.
The five kittens were reunited and the fifth was given the name Fairy, in keeping with the washing-powder theme shared by its siblings. Like her brothers and sisters, Fairy was another black-and-white kitten. And she too was housed in “a comfy kitten cabin,” which sounds like a purrfect paradise!
Soon, all the kittens were neutered and vaccinated. Then, once veterinary staff were satisfied with their condition, they were placed in foster care. In these loving environments, they could learn to adjust to different people and places.
Happily, the kittens were all found before they were eight weeks old. The two-month mark is crucial in a cat’s life as this is when socializing them becomes challenging. After this time, cats can be nervous around humans for the rest of their lives.
The wonderful news is that Daz and Ariel have already been adopted by a loving family. Now the rest of these young cats are on the prowl for some new parents and a place to call home for good. After their eventful start to life, they certainly deserve a safe haven.
In common with so many animal shelters the world over, the work that The Mayhew Animal Home carries out is priceless. In fact, a pair of kittens found living behind a garbage bin were just two recent recipients of the shelter’s expert care. Like the washing-machine kitties, these fortunate felines potentially owe their lives to the work of the charity.
Moreover, as well as thanking the shelter, the Edgware brood also have to be grateful to a vigilant florist. With eyes more attuned to colorful flowers, it could have been easy to miss the black and white bundles of fur. Luckily for all, then, there was a happy ending to this heartwarming account of kitten search and rescue.