NORMALLY, a fluffy yellow duckling might prove merely a tempting delicacy to a hungry cat.
Yet, for this feline it appears her mothering instinct has overcome all temptations.
Ronan and Emma Lally, from Clara Co Offaly, could scarcely believe their eyes when their white cat adopted three orphaned ducklings, along with her own brood of three kittens.
Initially, primary school teacher Ronan admitted he thought their cat was setting about devouring the ducklings when she plucked one of them up in her mouth.
Yet to the couple’s amazement it appears she only wanted to look after the trio of small fluffy yellow ducklings - even to the point of suckling them.
“The minute the cat lay down the three ducklings ran underneath her. She stared to purr,” he said.
“We lifted her up and two ducklings were latched onto the cat. The cat has all the maternal instinct, she has her paw around them and it is just extraordinary.”
Offaly-based Maura Cunningham, videographer, captured footage of the ducklings at home being mothered by the cat.
Ronan welcomed visitor Niall Hatch, from Birdwatch Ireland, down to their small holding. The school teacher explained the bird expert had found it extraordinary.
Ronan explained the ducklings appeared to be suckling from the cat along with her regular kittens. Although, when they put water and bird food in with her, they immediately hopped into the water for a wash.
“I wanted to take the ducklings out initially and put them under an infra-red light. I was afraid the cat was going to cop on,” he said, adding they would be keeping close watch as they will rapidly grow.
“Animals in general have no concept of numbers, as far as the cat is concerned there are kittens. The cat thinks they are all kittens. The cat might notice when the yellow kittens get very big,” he laughed.
“These ones could be for Hollywood yet,” he said. “We’ll have to treasure these three little kittens/ducklings.”
This follows Tiny the terrier also happily playing foster mother to orphaned ducklings. On the Lambert’s family farm in Rathdangan, Co Wicklow, the terrier can be spotted giving them a careful bath by licking them.