Two kittens who were found zipped in a bag in Sheffield woods by a dog walker are now safe thanks to dedicated team of volunteers.
Volunteers from Friends of Ferals, a group which help monitor and control the population of feral cats in and around Sheffield, were contacted for their help after dog walker Neil Hakwsworth found the pair in Bowden Woods, Handsworth, last week.
So, armed with some ‘extra tasty’ fresh chicken, a trap and a carrier, Joanne Gardner, rescue coordinator for Friends of Ferals, headed down to the woods with friend Nicola Speke from Rotherham Rescue Rangers.
Luckily, despite the bad weather, the pair managed to rescue both kittens who are now under the care of the RSPCA.
Joanne said: “We looked for ages and then suddenly a little face popped out from under the tree and grabbed some chicken.
“I quickly ran back to the van for the trap and a carrier. By the time I got back another little face had emerged from the bushes.
“We set the trap and soon one was eating all the chicken he could and he was too busy to realise what was happening. He was transferred into the carrier safe and sound and the trap was set again.
“The other little mite was timid and hid all the time. We followed him round and round the tree, but before we knew it he was half way up it sitting on a branch.
“Nicola went for it and grabbed him quickly and didn’t let go – although he was fighting to get away – until he was safe.”
Finally safe the kittens spent the night in a pen with volunteers before being passed over to the RSPCA, who are carrying out an investigation into who left them in the bag.
“Normally we would get them to the vets for a check up then re-home them,” Joanne added. “But, because the RSPCA are investigating the incident and are going to try and prosecute they went into their care as evidence I suppose you could say.
“Where, again they will be checked by the vet then probably go into foster care until healthy enough for adoption.
“They said they would keep us updated and re-home them together as they were very bonded. They were very skinny.”
Thousands of feral cats live in derelict factories, cemeteries, alleyways and outdoor spaces in and around Sheffield.
These cats are often the offspring of lost or abandoned domestic cats and haven’t been neutered, and because they have not been handled by humans as kittens are rarely candidates for adoption but those caught young enough can be re-homed.
Friends of Ferals trap and neuter animals who cannot be adopted to humanely manage feral cat colonies, giving them a health check and treating them for worms, fleas and ear mites.
They are then returned to their familiar habitat under lifelong care of colony carers, or those people who already feed then.
The team also run an adoption programme, in which tame cats and kittens are temporarily placed into foster care until they can permanently be adopted into a home.
They are solely dependant on donations, with every penny being spent on cats in crisis.