NEW ZEALAND – An unlikely animal friendship has been blossoming at Te Waenganui Childcare Centre in Opua.
A tiny kitten arrived just a few weeks ago and has made itself at home amongst the four chickens and duck.
The chickens Jennypeg, Cuddly, Pepeheihei and Bella alongside Quackers the duck have welcomed the new kitty whose name is Matariki.
Centre owner Jude Simpson explains they found the cat inside the chicken enclosure around the time of the Maori new year, hence the name Matariki.
“It cuddles up to the other animals and it has even made its bed inside the chicken hutch.
“Every now and then it gets a peck but otherwise they all get on nicely.”
Staff and also children at the centre had heard it meowing in the bush for a few weeks just prior to spotting it eating the hens’ food.
It actually scales the fence or climbs onto the roof to get inside the enclosure.
Now the lucky kitten gets fed every day inside the hutch right where the hens lay their eggs.
“The kids are pretty chuffed and now it watches them have their meals on the deck outside.”
They are unsure as to just where the kitten has come from or its gender.
SPCA Inspector Wendy Locke says this is not a ver common relationship at all.
“Some clucky hens might take other animals under their wing.”
She says chickens may also try to sit on other animals eggs.
Another unusual animal relationship Locke once experienced was when her lactating cat fed some orphaned puppies that she had been hand rearing.