By Hollie Bone
A student mowing his lawn for the summer was shocked to nearly run over a newborn KITTEN – before nursing the adorable creature back to full health.
Darryl Messer, 25, from Whitehaven, Cumbria, was tending to his overgrown garden on a sunny evening when he noticed a tuft of ginger fur in the long grass right in front of his lawnmower, missing it by a whisker.
With its umbilical cord still hanging on, Darryl, rushed the freezing kitten to his local vet where he was warned it was unlikely she would make it through the night.
But determined to help the miniature moggy survive, nuclear chemistry student Darryl stayed up all night to feed the tiny infant every two hours with a syringe of milk – nicknaming it Virgil after his favourite Liverpool FC player.
He said: “I was so shocked when I found her.
“It was a sunny day and the lawn had become a bit long and untidy so I decided to get the lawnmower out.
“It’s just a good job that I happened to look directly down in front of the lawnmower before I started otherwise it could have been a very different story.
“I wasn’t sure what it was at first, I thought it might be a ferret, but I picked it up and it was a little kitten.
“She was still wet and had her umbilical cord attached so I figured she must have only just been born.
“She was freezing cold so I took her straight to the vets, it was their last appointment of the day and they warned me they wouldn’t be able to make arrangements for her overnight until the next day so it was up to me to look after her until then.
“They said she probably wouldn’t make it through the night, but if I could get her through the first night her chances of survival were a lot stronger.”
After nursing the little Virgil through the night, Darryl decided to pass his new furry friend onto veterinary nurse and Cats Protection volunteer, Jade Courtly who has since re-named the feline, April.
After taking in the kitten, Jade, 33, decided to call out her fellow volunteers from Cats Protection to try and find April’s mum and the rest of the litter – and discovered the moggy mum and the kitten’s other siblings on a neighbour’s roof close to Darryl’s house.
Jade said: “She’s doing really well, she’s put on a tonne of weight, her eyes have opened up properly and she’s just starting to learn how to walk.
“Darryl did a fantastic job with her through her first night, she probably wouldn’t have made it through without him, but she still needed quite a lot of intensive care so we decided it was best that I take over and just make sure she continued to progress well.
“We found the rest of a litter and the mum on a neighbours roof by Darryl’s house, unfortunately one of the litter had died but we have rescued and rehomed the other three.
“The mum is a local stray feral cat, so the likelihood is she had the litter and then something spooked her and prompted her to carry the kittens to the roof.
“She must have dropped April on the way and not realised, but in a funny way it’s probably lucky that she ended up in Darryl’s lawn!”