This is the most unusual and sweet story I have seen; it’s so worth a few minutes to watch it. A young couple who run what I would call a “gentleman’s farm” decide they need some ducks, but the ducklings disappear soon after they hatch. They spot one in the cat’s mouth and assume the worst, but were absolutely dumbfounded to see what the cat was actually doing.
Here’s the BBC preview of the story (1:54 minutes long), or watch the whole episode at the top of the page (5:30 mins).
Their little Irish farm was incomplete without ducks waddling around. They bought duck eggs and waited for them to hatch in the barn, but all they found was empty shells, and no ducklings in sight. That’s when they suspected the cat.
However, when they followed Della back to her little hideout in the barn, they found three fuzzy yellow ducklings happily snuggled in. “She was very content; she was purring. She was really loving toward the ducklings,” said the “farmer’s wife” on the BBC show Animal Odd Couples.
Mama cat had adopted the ducklings.
Why did Della decide to care for them instead of eat them? Well, that comes down to perfect timing. As the surprised farmers checked on their ducklings, they saw that mama cat had just given birth to her own three kittens, perhaps only hours before. Her body was pulsing with nurturing hormones, and she took the ducklings in and licked them clean and kept them warm.
Ducklings would usually be kept very close and warm to their mother duck in the soft downy feathers under her wings.
The most surprising thing of all though is that the ducklings started suckling and nursing alongside their kitten siblings. It’s not clear whether they were really getting the milk, but it’s likely they were genuinely feeding that way while they were young.
You’ll love the end of the video, as three big white ducks waddle, single-file, behind Della the cat around the farm.
The story originally featured as one of BBC’s Animal Odd Couples series, after they found the videos posted to YouTube by the proud farmers.