Cats and fowl are risky business when put together. Instinct drives a cat to hunt the bird they spy. But, not always. Sometimes the protection instinct overrides the hunt.
A couple in Clara, County Offaly, Ireland, witnessed just such a thing.
Ronan and Emma Lally grew concerned when three ducklings went missing on their small farm. The hatchlings had just broken free of their shells that day. Anything could of have happened to the fuzzy babies, but Ronan had a terrible suspicion. He worried their cat Della might be behind their disappearance.
He was right.
They found Della holding onto one duckling, the baby’s head between her cat jaws.
The world slowed in that moment, Ronan and Emma fearing they’d never get to the duckling before the cat could do harm. But, Emma noticed Della wasn’t acting predatory. In a video feature posted to YouTube by LFC 1892, Emma said, “I was, like, Ronan, she’s not actually forcefully holding the duck!”
Still, the couple separated the cat and the ducks, but Ronan said the ducklings waddled right back to Della, who gathered them in and covered them with a paw. The baby birds nuzzled against her and attempted to nurse from the new mother cat.
“They love each other, like, you can’t break this bond. Its amazing,” Emma said, emotion rising in her voice.
An Unusual, But Adorable Bond
Ducklings don’t nurse, they hatch ready to search out food. But with the milk from Della nearby, it seems their foraging instinct understood the cat provided food. As babies, the fuzzy ducklings wanted warmth and contact. Having given birth only a few hours prior, Della could only think of protecting and nursing any little fuzzy baby she found.
Once the mothering hormones settled down, Della’s mama cat instinct still demanded she dote on the ducklings.
Ronan worried about the ducklings’ safety and wanted to move the ducklings, but, as a midwife, Emma recognized what was happening between Della and her adopted children.
Of the furred and feathered family, Emma said, “There was just so much love there, you know. I see it everyday in the labor ward. They just want to hold those babies tight and close, it’s just a moment that lasts forever and I could see that happening with the cat and the ducks.”
The Bond Remained as the Ducklings Grew
Over a week later, the little ducks still snuggled with their mama cat and adopted kitten siblings. Della’s “yellow kittens” quickly outgrew her tabby kittens though. The ducklings were ready to wander from their nest way too soon for her liking.
But, as nature dictates, ducklings find their independence sooner than kittens.
Though the ducklings have grown into ducks, they still love their mom.
Nature proves a mother’s love knows no bounds.