The successful end of a 3-day rescue mission to save a family of stray cats has inspired the founder of a cat charity to call for more people to take action when they see kittens outside.

It was Saturday afternoon when two dog walkers were alerted to the fact that a small kitten had been spotted in some bushes near the car park of the Bramley Villagers Club, Leeds.

The kitten had fallen from the building roof the night before, and the mum was loitering near the area. The pair were told that two siblings most likely remained on the roof.

Karina Taylor of Your Dog Walker and Jo-Anne Robinson of Tail Waggers Pet Care, explains: “We managed to catch the kitten that had fallen down, in a small dog crate fairly quickly, but it didn’t seem right to leave the rest on the roof. We called Yorkshire Cat Rescue and they immediately agreed to take in the whole family, if we could catch them.”

The first kitten was taken to Yorkshire Cat Rescue and placed with foster carer Barbara who has experience with looking after young kittens. “Barbara is amazing! What a wonderful lady – completely committed to the work of the charity in raising unwanted families of cats in her home,” says Karina and Jo-Anne.

And then the rescue operation to capture the remaining three members of the little family began.

The tenant of the property, Neil, was very co-operative and helped the girls climb the ladder and reach the roof where the kittens were hiding inside an old boiler room. The only way to access them was via a small open window hole.

Jo-Anne explains: “We managed to get inside and set the cat trap again, full of nice smelling food to lure the kittens in. It only took half an hour before the trap went off! Two kittens were inside, but we then saw a third sitting on top of it.”

Sadly the third kitten ran off and hid and the pair had no choice but to re-set the trap and leave it overnight while they took the two kittens to Karina’s home nearby.

The following morning they returned to find the mum alone inside the trap, but despite their best efforts all day, they weren’t able to capture the last kitten.

The pair says: “We were really worried as there was a large fox colony living in bushes next to the club. We decided to release mum so she at least would be able to protect her third kitten which otherwise stood little chance of surviving the night. She immediately began calling for the kitten – luring it out from its hiding place. We re-set the trap and finally managed to capture the kitten at 11pm that night. Mum, however, wouldn’t come near enough to catch, so we re-set the trap yet again and decided to call it a day.”

Karina, Jo and Neil checked the trap several times the following day, but with no luck despite the fact that the mum had been spotted in Karina’s garden – seemingly aware that two of her kittens were being cared for inside. So they decided to move the trap from the roof to the garden and then wait. Finally, at around 7am the following morning, mum entered the trap.

Karina says: “It was such a relief to finally have them all in safety. We drove the mum and two kittens straight to Barbara’s home where they were reunited with the original ‘jumper’. It was obvious that the mother was relieved to have them all together in one place, and so were we.”

The foursome will stay in foster care until they are old enough to be neutered, vaccinated and put up for adoption. Mummy cat will be spayed, vaccinated and go to the Rehoming Centre ready to find her forever home too.

Sara Atkinson, founder of Yorkshire Cat Rescue says: “Karina and her friends went to great lengths to save this little family. Because of them, the kittens now won’t have to grow up feral, but will be raised in the safety of a home and adopted by loving families in the near future. If everyone were as vigilant and prepared to take action or call for help, we’d probably begin to see a reduction in Britain’s stray cat population. Please take note if you ever see a young kitten outside – for their sake and for the benefit of the area.”