A cat who was rescued by the RSPCA after being found in the freezing cold with his placenta still attached is now helping other orphaned young kittens.
Joey, the two-year old male tabby cat, has become a ‘surrogate mum’ to three litters of kittens after he was adopted by veterinary nurse Jessica Bickerstaff who works at RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital in London.
Joey was rescued along with his siblings in August 2017 when they were found under some decking in Camberwell at just a few hours old, in the freezing cold with their placenta still attached.
Jess said: “When they came in, we removed the placentas and I began feeding them milk which they took straight away. I fostered them from then on. The two sisters were rehomed together, but I kept Joey – so I’ve had him since he was just hours old.”
Jess has taken three sets of needy kittens’ home with her to hand rear them and each time Joey has become very fond of them.
She added: “He has got along with all of them. I knew he would, as he’s still young himself and has been around other animals as I have an older cat and a dog, and he just loves having the kittens to play with. Not only that but he also grooms them and cleans their bums like a mother cat would. He helps the kittens socialise with other animals – he’s just an absolute star with them.”
The latest litter to be taken under Joey’s wing are Tommy, Teddy and Tucker. They were abandoned in a carboard box next to some bins in a block of flats in Streatham, South London. They were found at three weeks old but now they are seven weeks, and fully weaned, soon to be rehomed.
Hand rearing kittens requires a lot of time and effort and would suit someone with flexible working hours and lots of spare time.
Typically, the summer months from May to September are the busiest time of year as this is ‘kitten season’ when most litters are born. However, fosterers are needed all year round and those considering fostering older cats can work longer hours so even if working full time, there’s still opportunities to foster.
All fosterers are reimbursed for their expenses and advice and support is given by the branch or centre.
For more information about fostering you can visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/foster.