Three abandoned kittens who were rescued from a garden in Cornwall have been named after key figures from the history of the NHS. Had the kittens not been found they likely would have died.
The trio of three-day-old kittens were abandoned when their feral mum was unintentionally disturbed by a member of the public who walked into the garden where the cats were sheltering. Despite the cat-lover keeping her distance, the mother was still alarmed and made a run for it with one of her five kittens, leaving four behind to fend for themselves.
The woman gave Cats Protection’s Cornwall Adoption Centre a ring, where centre manager Libby Jepsen advised her to monitor the situation from a distance.
Later, the mother returned for another kitten, but when she didn’t come back to collect the three remaining babies by the evening, Libby realised this meant trouble – the young cats were unlikely to survive if left alone.
Libby said: ‘Feral cats are terrified of humans so we want to have as little contact with them as possible. ‘In this situation the kittens had been left for over two hours since the mother had first been frightened away.
‘Although she may have returned, at around three days old kittens cannot maintain their own body temperature and need continual feeding.
‘I was worried that even if their mother did come back, her kittens would be too cold and hungry to survive or another animal would prey on them once it got dark, so we made the decision to bring them in, maintaining social distancing throughout.’ With the centre only having skeleton staff owing to the current lockdown situation, Libby has taken on the responsibility for hand-rearing the one female and two male kittens.
She named the kittens after heroes from the history of the NHS. Grey-and white Nye is named after Aneurin (Nye) Bevan who founded the NHS; tabby-and-white AJ is named after AJ Cronin whose book The Citadel paved the way for the NHS, and tabby Elizabeth has taken her name from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman to qualify in Britain as a physician and surgeon.
The kittens will need grow to at least eight weeks old before Cats Protection will offer them for adoption, but if you’re keen to give the trio a home, do keep an eye on the Cornwall centre’s site.
Libby says: ‘All three of the kittens are currently doing really well and need to be fed every two and a half hours, day and night.
They will stay with me for the next couple of weeks and then once there is a little more time between feeds I’ll be able to share the responsibilities with other members of staff.
‘The kittens are really vulnerable so we have named them after some of the most inspirational people we could think of.
‘We hope their names bring them the strength they will need to thrive but also provides a small nod of recognition to the people who created the healthcare system for which we are all currently so grateful.’