A cat and her five kittens have been rescued by the RSPCA after becoming trapped in a loft in Harrow.
The animal welfare charity was called to the property on Pinner Road, North Harrow when a nearby resident saw a number of kittens on the roof. It was clear they were able to get into the loft of the property, but when RSPCA animal rescue officers (ARO) attended the address they were unable to locate the kittens as it was so dark.
With the help of the London Fire Brigade and thermal imaging cameras, three of the kittens were rescued by ARO Jade Guthrie, but the other two and their mum were hiding.
ARO Jade Guthrie said: “It was a challenging rescue, ARO Holly Walker and I went back several times to catch all the kittens and their mother. It took two and a half hours to catch the first three. They may have been small but they were very fast!
“We were really worried about them because while mum could get off the roof easily enough, a drop from that height would have been potentially fatal for the kittens.”
After a week, all five kittens and their mum were caught successfully and transferred to RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre, where they will stay until they’re ready to go to a new home. The RSPCA is highlighting the rescue as part of the charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty fund-raising campaign calling on the public to support more rescues like this.
The mum, who has been named Flame, is around 18 months old. While the kittens, 3 boys and 2 girls named Phoenix, Sam, Aiden, Enya and Seraphina are around eight weeks old.
ARO Jade Guthrie added: “We believe mum gave birth to the kittens up on the roof. The woman who lived in the flat didn’t realise, she thought the noises in the loft were probably rats. We checked the mum for a microchip but she doesn’t have one, and obviously, so far the kittens have had very little human contact.
“We think she must’ve been able to feed all five of them herself for six weeks, she is a super mum!
“The rescue was hard work but all five kittens and mum are safe so it was all worth it.”
The RSPCA says mandatory microchipping for cats brought in next year will make it easier to reunite rescued cats with their owners. The animal rescue charity also highlights the importance of neutering cats. Along with other cat and veterinary organisations, the RSPCA encourages people to get their cats neutered from four months old as a responsible part of pet ownership.
For many years, charities have seen a peak in cats coming into their care during kitten season (typically seen between April and September), with animals sometimes found in cardboard boxes and bins or dumped by roadsides when their owners can no longer care for them or weren’t expecting a litter.
Neutering can help tackle this issue and reduce the immense pressure that animal welfare organisations are under, especially over the summer months.
With the rising cost of living, the RSPCA encourages cat owners to plan ahead, make sure they are registered with a vet, explore whether local charities can offer neutering vouchers in their area and take out pet insurance to help cover unexpected costs.
There is more help and advice for animal owners struggling during the cost of living crisis on the RSPCA website here. Anyone who has information about the cat and kittens and where they have come from is urged to contact the RSPCA’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018.