Newborn kittens dumped in Gateshead in cardboard box

The litter are now being looked after by an RSPCA inspector.

Tiny kittens dumped in Gateshead without their mother are being hand reared by an RSPCA inspector. The three newborn kittens were found abandoned in a cardboard box in a back alley by a member of the public. The woman came across them at around 7am on September 29 in Shipcote Terrace in the Bensham area of Gateshead. There was no sign of the mother, so the woman took them home and informed the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspector Rachael Hurst is now caring for the animals alongside her partner Jamie at their North East home. Jamie has been looking after them during the day, fitting it in alongside his work commitments, while Rachael is up every four hours during the night to bottle-feed the kittens. Rachael said: “They need to be fed and stimulated around the clock, so it is hands-on for both of us at the moment. They are very young and a real handful. My partner works from home, so that has helped during the day and I look after their night-time care. I make sure they get a feed quite late on, then do a 1am feed and get some sleep before getting up at 5am to do it all again.”

The newborn kittens are now being hand reared by an RSPCA inspector

The kittens were found when they were around four or five days old. There are four females and one male, and they have been named Holly, Ivy, Snowball, Sally and Jack by the RSPCA. Although they have been separated from their mother, the RSPCA have said that the kittens are doing well.  RSPCA inspector Rachael is well suited to care for the kittens as prior to her current role, she worked as a cattery supervisor at RSPCA Felledge Animal Centre and Chester-le-Street. The kittens will be taken there once they are able to fend for themselves, before finding a forever home.

Rachael said: “They were clean and dry and in good health, but very hungry when I collected them. It was sad to see they had been abandoned as they were only five days old and hadn’t even opened their eyes and were very lucky to survive. I should imagine they will need another two to three weeks of hand rearing. Once they are weaned and eating kitten food they are likely to go to Felledge. Quite often we rely on people’s kindness to help out in these situations as cats like this are too young to go to our animal centres. Sometimes in these situations when we take them to the vets there are vet nurses at the practices who like doing it. But we’re both happy to help, although they are keeping us busy. They are lovely and I should imagine there will be plenty of colleagues ready to take their turn when I go into Felledge for our inspectors’ monthly meeting.”

The newborn kittens were found in a cardboard box

Anyone who has any information or knowledge of a litter of kittens being kept in the area of Gateshead or other local area in September is asked to contact the RSPCA appeals line on 0300 123 8018. The RSPCA would like to make a welfare check on the mother and there may be other kittens in the litter. The RSPCA always advises people who may be struggling to look after their pets financially to seek support from one of the many animal welfare charities. Please visit the RSPCA website for more information.