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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Four kittens rescued from under a bush and cared for by our Dereham Adoption Centre have found new homes.

*Update - 11 August 2020*

The kittens rescued from under a bush in May and cared for by Cats Protection's Dereham Adoption Centre are now three months old and have been happily rehomed.

Adorable Pickle, the kitten whose name was chosen by players of People's Postcode Lottery, had no shortage of offers for adoption but soon went home with Michelle and her husband Simon from Norwich.

Tabby kitten relaxing on wooden flooring

Pickle all grown up in his new home

“Pickle has settled in beautifully with our little family of cats," said Michelle. "He’s so confident and playful and makes us laugh constantly with his crazy antics! When he’s not charging around the house or playing in his play tunnel, he likes to have lots of cuddles and enjoys sleeping on our laps.

“He gets on particularly well with one of our other two cats, Horace, and they even started grooming each other within a week of us bringing Pickle home. He was also completely unphased by a visiting dog. Lynzi clearly did a fantastic job of socialising him during his time with her as he doesn’t seem scared of anything, even the vacuum cleaner.

Black and white cat on carpet with tabby kitten

Pickle and his new friend Horace

“We did think about changing his name at first but in the end, we decided to keep it as it just suits him so well. He’s a gorgeous little pickle and we adore him!”

Pickle was cared for by cat care assistant and foster Linzi Sizeland, whose role is supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery. She said: “As the kittens were too young to fend for themselves, I had to play mum to them – including bottle feeding them until they could eat solid food.

Tabby and white cat relaxing on their back

Pickle well and truly settled in

“It has been a challenge but also a joy to help get these kittens ready for homing by encouraging their natural play behaviours, taking them for vet visits, getting them used to cat carriers and loud noises and so on.

“I’m so pleased that they have all now found loving homes. It really makes all the hard work so worthwhile and is one of the reasons I love my job.”

Pickle's siblings Peanut, Pesto and Papaya have also found new homes and are settling in well.

*Update - 5 June 2020*

The orphaned kittens being cared for by Cats Protection's Dereham Adoption Centre are nearly six weeks old and have now been named!

Nicknamed the Tabby Rascals by their carers, the four kittens are now called Pickle, Papaya, Peanut and Pesto.

4 tabby kitten littermates

Pickle, Papaya, Peanut and Pesto, also known as the Tabby Rascals

One of the kittens, Pickle, was given his name by players of People's Postcode Lottery, who fell for the scrawny kitten after his plight was posted on social media. It wasn’t long before names flooded in, with Pickle, Pesto, Simba and Cody selected as the top suggestions. After a series of Instagram votes, the little chap was named Pickle. And it suits him well.

The loveable litter have been receiving round-the-clock care since they were rescued from under a bush after their mother was killed on a busy road.

Tabby kitten laughing with Cats Protection staff

Cat carer Lynzi Sizeland with cheeky Pickle

The responsibility fell to Dereham Cat Care Assistant Lynzi Sizeland, whose role is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. For the past few weeks, Lynzi has dedicated much of her time to hand-rearing the four tabby kittens and is largely to thank for their good health.

Lynzi said: “The kittens were too young to fend for themselves, so I had to change my daily routine to play mum to them. Their mum had given then a good start in life as they were surprisingly clean and healthy when they came in. Thanks to her, they had a fighting chance.

“It has been a challenge with four hungry and playful kittens to feed, but it’s what we do and I love my job. Despite the current restrictions, we remain #HereForTheCats.”

Tabby kitten being bottle fed by cat carer

Pickle being bottle-fed by his dedicated carer

Growing nicely and doing well at nearly six weeks old, the kittens seem oblivious to their tragic start in life. They will remain in care until lockdown restrictions have been lifted and they are old enough to find new homes. Please keep an eye on the adoption centre's website to find out when the kittens are available for adoption.

Lynzi said: “They are now fully litter-trained and are being weaned onto kitten food mashed up with milk and dry food. They love to play and are all already practising skills they will need in adulthood, like stalking and the side crab walk and fluffing themselves up! But they are still young and can be a bit wobbly on their legs, occasionally losing their balance, which always makes me smile.”

Hazel Johnstone, Senior Programmes Manager at People's Postcode Lottery, said: "It's been so fun seeing all the quirky names that people have come up with while also offering us a great opportunity to spread to word about the fantastic work Cats Protection does to help cats in need. With the help of People's Postcode Lottery players, the charity works tirelessly to achieve its vision of a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs. We're delighted to be able to support this vital work."

Read on for our original blog post about the orphaned kittens...

Four tiny kittens were bundled into a cardboard box and saved from almost certain death after their nursing mother was killed on the road.

Cats Protection mobilised staff from two of its Norfolk centres, thanks to a quick-thinking passer-by who rescued the desperate kittens from under a bush.

Tiny newborn tabby kittens in cardboard box

At around three weeks old, the kittens were not strong enough to fend for themselves and would have struggled to survive if they had not been found so quickly and rushed into the expert care of Cats Protection.

The dramatic rescue started on Saturday morning when a man appealed for help at Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre.

Centre Manager Lindsay Tempest said: “He rushed down our drive and said that he had a number of feral cats in his garden in Outwell. Sadly, one of them, the kittens’ mum, had been found dead in Stow Road that morning. He had seen her moving some kittens under a bush a few days before and he was desperate for our help.

4 newborn kittens cuddling in cardboard box

“We told him to bring the kittens straight to us and, within a very short time he returned with four tiny kittens in a cardboard box. Amazingly, they were clean, warm and a good weight. They’d obviously had their breakfast with mum just before she tragically ventured onto the road, so they had a fighting chance.”

The tabby kittens’ tender age meant they would need to be hand-reared, which presented its own problems.

Lindsay said: “Normally this would not be an issue but we are working on skeleton staff during lockdown and didn’t have anyone here to help. Thankfully, our neighbouring Dereham Adoption Centre arranged to take them in and just a few hours later they were safely snuggled up, receiving round-the-clock care from one of their team.”

The kittens will remain in care until after the lockdown restrictions have been lifted and they are well enough to find new homes. Please keep an eye on their website to find out when the kittens are available for adoption.

To find out more about what services Cats Protection can offer during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, visit www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus

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