When Christine McLelland discovered a litter of stray kittens and their mum in her garden shed last November, she called Mayhew for help – a decision which resulted in Christine and the kittens enjoying a royal audience with HRH The Duchess of Sussex earlier this month!
Back in November 2018, Ms McLelland was in her garden with her dog Fritz, when the Schnauzer alerted her to a rather unexpected surprise in the shed.
A stray cat had recently given birth there, and a litter of kittens were now living amongst her possessions.
Ms McLelland contacted Mayhew immediately, and their Animal Welfare Officers went to collect the kittens and their mum, and bring them into their care.
Ms McLelland, a headteacher, shared the news of her exciting discovery with the pupils at her school. Keen to update the children on the kittens’ progress, Christine kept in touch with the charity. Year 1 Hazel Class asked if they could name the litter, and chose the names Leo, Percy, Sasha, Mia and Tiger-Lily.
The children then decided to fundraise for Mayhew through a series of pupil-led events, book and toy sales, and also invited the Animal Welfare Officers to the school to give a talk in assembly.
Shortly afterwards, the charity revealed that The Duchess of Sussex had become Mayhew’s first Royal Patron, and they saw an opportunity to repay the school’s kindness and interest.
Ms McLelland was invited to meet The Duchess on HRH’s first official visit to the charity to talk about her unexpected discovery and the children’s ongoing interest in the kittens and animal welfare.
The kittens themselves also met HRH as she took a tour of the charity, and received their very own ‘royal seal of approval’ from The Duchess – who declared them to be “so sweet”.
“The story of the kittens has absolutely captivated our children,” Ms McLelland said. “They’ve gained so much from seeing the kittens flourish, and now they also have an understanding of the work and done by Mayhew. That our care and joy also had a place in the Duchess’s first official visit to Mayhew was the icing on the cake – it was an honour to meet her.”
The kittens and their Mum were in all in a good condition when they were found, so after their short stay with the charity (being fussed over by staff as well as royalty!), they have all now found loving homes to go to.