Sergeant Morton, from North Carolina, USA, has been feeding and caring for local feral cats for the last few months. Recently, he and his wife started a trap-neuter-return programme.
Such programmes help control feral cat populations. It keeps their numbers to manageable levels, stops the spread of disease, protects local wildlife, and relieves much of the strain placed upon animal rescue services.
The search begins
Whilst out on patrol, the couple noticed a pregnant cat. When they saw her again a few days later, it was clear that she'd given birth. Sgt Morton said, "Our stress levels elevated as we worried about the safety of the newborn kittens."
They soon located mum and her kittens in an abandoned house. Unfortunately, the feral cat escaped with one of her newborns.
Sgt Morton managed to catch the adult female shortly after, but there was no sign of the kitten. The search continued.
Two days later and the kitten was still missing. Physically and mentally exhausted, Sgt Morton was quickly losing hope. And then he heard a familiar sound:
"I started walking towards my neighbour's home when I heard that sound. This time I was close enough to hear it more clearly. The screams sounded like they were coming from under the modular home."
"I grasped the edge of the insulation and pulled it down just enough to get my hand in between the insulation and flooring of the home."
"When I reached into the small-sized pocket, I felt something warmer and harder than the insulation and wondered if I had found the kitten or if I was about to have a pet rat. When I gently grabbed the questionable ball of fur, it immediately started crying out again."
A family reunited
The kitten was reunited with its mum and siblings, who are all doing very well. Staff at SC Animal Services, are now working on finding mum and her kittens a new home.