Newborn kittens with umbilical cord attached dumped on Derry lane
Meet the family of cats lucky to be alive after being dumped in a laneway at night.
Two young female cats, a young tom and four kittens were abandoned in a laundry basket just outside Draperstown in Co Londonderry.
Two of the kittens were so young that the umbilical cord was still attached.
Helen McFerran, from Little Cat Rescue NI, said without the intervention of a woman who spotted them being dumped, the youngest might have died.
The alarm was raised last Thursday when the woman spotted someone leaving something on a laneway and went to investigate.
She alerted Little Cat Rescue NI, explaining that she could not keep them herself because her husband is allergic to cats.
However, she did bring the family of cats into a barn to ensure they had shelter overnight before handing them over to Little Cat Rescue NI on Friday.
"The lady told us that she saw someone dropping something off in the early hours of the morning," Helen told this newspaper. "There were three young cats - two mummies, one male and four kittens.
"Both mummies are only eight months old themselves. They are very clean and likely to have been someone's pets themselves at some stage.
"Two of the kittens were just a few days old; the umbilical cords still attached."
It is not the first time animals have been dumped along the same lane in Draperstown.
The woman said dogs had previously been abandoned there, and even a donkey, which she rehomed herself.
Helen said all the cats were doing well, and that the two mother cats were very affectionate. They have named two of the kittens Diego and Dora, after the children's cartoon characters known for their love of exploring.
The younger kittens have not yet been named. Helen explained they were waiting for their tiny eyes to open first so they can get an idea for names from their personalities.
"The kittens are too young for rehoming yet, and we will be trying to rehome the two mummies first after all they have been through," she said.
"We would like to find a home for them together."
Based in Craigavon, Helen and her family run Little Cat Rescue NI alongside full-time jobs.
They currently care for 30 cats, including several kittens that need to be hand-fed.
There are also vet bills to be met for treatments for the cats. Their vet bill is around £11,000 a year, and they welcome donations to help pay it.
- Paypal donations can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org