DOGS and cats aren’t usually thought to get on. But that’s far from the case for this little adopted family.

They may not be the same species, but 14-year-old Skye and the six orphaned kittens are completely devoted to each other.

When these tiny kittens, only days old, were found huddled together on a local demolition site, kind-hearted workers took them to Oak Tree Animals’ Charity at Wetheral, where staff knew they had to act fast as there was a chance they wouldn’t survive.

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After a vet check, Caroline Yon, Oak Tree’s intake team leader, took on the role of foster carer, hand-rearing the tiny babies, five girls and one boy, round the clock.

But they soon found a warm, furry, snuggly mother in the shape of Caroline’s Border Collie dog Skye, who would care for them as though they were her own puppies.

Caroline explained: “Skye has a history of nurturing baby animals of all kinds. She had two litters of her own when she was very young and helped raise a litter sired by my old Collie, Dodger. She has also helped with orphaned lambs, so she was the obvious choice to fulfil some of the duties that a mother cat would instinctively do.”

She added: “The kittens were starting to look a bit greasy coated as they weren’t being groomed as often as they should and, with six in the litter, mealtimes could take an hour by the time they were all fed, winded and toileted.

“Skye was a natural, she soon had their coats shining and fluffy and she was super diligent not only ensuring they toileted after every meal, but cleaning up thoroughly afterwards! She’s also very calm and tolerates being used as a kitty climbing frame well.”

Staff believe the mother cat may have been feral. “We managed to catch her and brought her to Oak Tree, and had her tested and spayed, but she wasn’t interested in the kittens, so we returned her to the area we found her,” said Caroline.

“Some of the workers said they had seen the mother cat and a black tom cat hanging about for a while,” she added.

Five of the kittens have already found homes, but one black kitten is still looking for a forever family.

“Black cats are always harder to rehome, but these are so sociable and love all the attention,” said Caroline, who has adopted two of the six herself. “We have given them all names of well-known singers. Mine are called Amy Winecat and Paloma Peanut. We also have a Kitty Perry and a Shakira Sam.

Caroline added “We are always happy to hear from people who are prepared to help foster kittens, puppies, or elderly cats and dogs.”