Three tiny kittens are being cared for by Blue Cross pet charity in Lewknor after they were discovered under floorboards and in the wall of a restaurant that was being demolished.
George Harman and his team discovered the kittens as they were working on the former restaurant.
The builders were carrying out end of day checks on the derelict building which they were set to demolish when they heard tiny cries coming from inside.
The team set about finding where the noises were coming from and on looking down a hole in the floorboards in the building found a tiny black kitten crying for its mother.
When the cries continued the team set about carefully cutting and removing floorboards and half an hour later came across a second kitten some 10 metres away from its sibling.
George Harman, Project Manager at Bellwood Homes, said: “The third kitten was the challenge. We had heard more cries in the room but then there was silence. When it started crying again we managed to trace the noise to a bay window. We removed more and more flooring but we still couldn’t see a kitten anywhere. We could still hear the cries and then we realised they were coming from inside the wall.
“We started to remove each block by hand, gently tapping the blocks with a hammer trying to loosen them without causing any disruption or discomfort to the kitten. We removed 10 concrete blocks in total to find that a third kitten had somehow got into the cavity of the building.”
The whole rescue effort took the team around three hours before all the kittens were safely removed.
George added: “The kittens looked to be in a pretty poorly state with gunk around their eyes. They were covered in cobwebs, dirt and dust and were so small you could feel every bone in their body. I can only imagine that they were starving hungry.”
Sadly there was no sign of the kittens’ mother so George, who was working in Reading, took them into the Blue Cross’s rehoming centre in Lewknor.
The kittens were so young that they initially required around the clock care, having to be bottle-fed every four hours and helped to go to the toilet in the absence of their mother.
Now aged five weeks the trio, who have been named Bill, Elle and Beatrix, are getting stronger by the day and will be going to new homes when they are old enough.
Laura Smart, Animal Welfare Assistant at Blue Cross Lewknor, fostered the kittens at her home.
She said: “When they first came in to us they needed feeding every four hours. One of the kittens, Elle, had a really bad eye which was glued shut and ulcerated.
“After lots of TLC they are all getting stronger by the day. Elle is very affectionate and cuddy and loves laying and falling asleep on her back. Bill is very confident and loves exploring. He walks around my house like he owns it, while Beatrix is really cute – she manages to fall asleep in my hand.”
Blue Cross sees a huge increase in stray cats and kittens being brought into their rehoming centres and hospitals across the country during the summer months. The pet charity is reminding owners to neuter and microchip their cats and to keep their address and contact details for the microchip up to date.
Some 80% of cats brought into Blue Cross for rehoming in 2017 were not microchipped, and the pet charity believes many brought in as suspected strays actually had loving homes but without a microchip or collar there is no way of reuniting the pet with its owner.
For more information on how to help a cat you suspect is a stray in your neighbourhood visit www.bluecross.org.uk/straycat