Orphaned kitten found on rubbish belt at recycling plant finds loving home

A tiny orphaned kitten rescued from a conveyor belt at a recycling centre and surviving against all the odds has been dubbed a ‘Christmas miracle’.

The kitten was found with his brother when they were just a few days old, with their eyes closed and umbilical cords attached, at a recycling plant in Hartlepool, County Durham.

Staff at the plant called RSPCA animal rescue, and Shane Lynn arrived to find the kittens safely away from the rubbish on December 22, 2020.

Lynn said: ‘These kittens were incredibly lucky to have been spotted by the eagle-eyed workers. If it wasn’t for their quick actions, they could have been killed by the machinery at the plant.

‘It’s believed the kittens may have been born to a feral cat inside a recycling bin that was then picked up by one of the lorries and tipped onto the conveyor belt at the plant for sorting.’

The kittens were sent to a local vet for emergency treatment as they were very young and vulnerable.

‘They were very cold and weak. The out-of-hours team at Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital managed to warm them up and vet nurse, Pippa Young, took them home for round-the-clock care,’ Lynn added.

Pippa, 27, is originally from Dorset but now lives in Darlington. She is always taking home strays and orphan animals that need extra care. She was with Lynn when they collected the kittens from the plant, and soon knew she wouldn’t be giving Shelby up any time soon.

‘I’m forever taking animals home to foster them or wildlife which needs feeding and releasing,’ she said. ‘But I knew that I couldn’t bear to be parted with Shelby and he’ll be staying for good.’

Unfortunately, Shelby’s brother Arthur, died five weeks after the siblings were found due to his health complications. Shelby is now doing well at nearly a year old, and is going from ‘strength-to-strength’.

Young said: ‘I knew at that point [when Arthur died] that I couldn’t let Shelby go and I’m so pleased that he’s doing so well.

‘He is a real character. As he lost his brother so young, he’s grown up mostly with our dog, Buddy. He acts more like a dog than a cat.

‘He’s so loving and constantly wants your attention and, as soon as he has it, he purrs his head off. I can’t sit down anywhere without him jumping on my lap for a head smoosh.’

Young was worried that Shelby may have the same condition his brother died of and made sure to send him for extra tests.

While his first set of results came back poor, subsequent tests showed better results. They will continue to do tests each year to make sure Shelby is ‘fit and well’.

The family, which includes two cocker spaniels named Buddy and Bullseye, are looking forward to spending their first Christmas with Shelby, the newest addition to their little home.

The RSPCA receives thousands of calls over Christmas, with the call about Shelby and Arthur being one of just 50,000 received last year.

The animal charity is calling on animal lovers to help their rescue teams save as many animals as possible.

Chief Inspectorate Officer Dermot Murphy said: ‘After another exceptionally tough year, this Christmas, more than any, should be a time for joy and togetherness. A time to be safe inside, loved, and protected from the cold.

‘But for thousands of innocent animals, this is sadly not the case. Cruelly treated, neglected, and abandoned, many face a Christmas of continued abuse or slow starvation, without warmth or affection.’

He added: ‘We are often their only hope, so we must do whatever it takes to rescue animals who desperately need us and stop their suffering.’

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