Leyland dog owner is stunned after Jack Russell finds new-born kitten outside and brings it home to nurse
The owner of a Jack Russell in Leyland was stunned when her dog discovered a new-born kitten lost on a river bank in Leyland - and brought it safely home to nurse it.
The motherly instincts of Molly, a five-year-old Jack Russell, might have saved the life of the kitten, which it rescued from the banks of the River Lostock last week.
Molly's owner, Karen Bamber, said she was startled when the Jack Russell sheepishly returned from the back garden, which borders the river, holding a "tiny, furry thing" in her mouth.
"I was a bit frantic at first because I thought she had brought a rat into the house," said the 58-year-old.
"She took it straight over to her blanket on the floor and began licking it. When I went over to see what she had, she tried to push it under her blanket and wouldn't let me near it.
"I was dreading dealing with a dead rat. But when we finally got a closer look, I had the surprise of my life!
"It was this tiny kitten and Molly was licking it clean and trying to warm it up. I couldn't believe it."
After some coaxing, Molly allowed her to get closer and Karen was relieved to discover that the new-born kitten was still alive.
She said the kitten was "nearly frozen", so Karen swiftly got to work finding a local cat rescue group who might be able to help her.
After a frantic search online, Karen found a volunteer with a local charity who arranged to collect the kitten and re-home it with a new litter.
"It's now with a foster cat mum," said Karen, "whose own babies are roughly the same age and she's accepted it and is treating it as one of her own.
"I don't know how the little mite got to be in my back garden, but if anyone is missing a kitten please know that it's safe and being taken very good care of by its new mum.
"The funny thing is, Molly hates the cat next door because it torments her, but she's such a loving dog and I'm not surprised she looked after it the way she did."
Karen said she thinks it was Molly's maternal instincts that sprang into action when she found the kitten lost and alone in the dark.
She said: "She's had one litter of puppies and obviously her motherly instinct just kicked in. I'm honestly so proud of her. She didn't care about it being a cat, she just saw a baby that needed help."
Karen is still at a loss to explain how the kitten managed to find its way into her back garden, which is separated from the river by a fence.
She said: "There were fireworks going off somewhere close that night, so maybe the mum might have been moving her kittens and then got startled and dropped one?
"Also, my neighbour heard a cat fight a few hours before in her garden that leads to the river. We wondered whether another cat might have found her kittens, so she went to move them and lost one?
"I checked and there weren't any others, and I also took it back outside once Molly had warmed it up to see if mum could hear its crying and come back.
"But we had no luck. I've been down by the river again these past few days but haven't seen or heard anything. It's funny, but when I gave it back to Molly, it stopped crying."
Karen said she was heartened to learn that the rescued kitten is now "thriving" with its new foster mother.
She said: "I checked with the woman who found a foster mother for it and she said it was putting on weight and thriving.
"Molly cried next to the front door until 2.30am after the kitten was picked up. But she's finally forgiven me for taking her new baby away.
"She still searches the garden as if she's trying to find another one. She's such a lovely little dog with a big heart and I'm so proud of her."
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