When a strong thunderstorm blew through Sydney Horvath’s town last month, the first thing the homesteader thought of was her chicken coop.
She could hear the hens making unusual noises in their coop, so she grabbed her boots then ran to investigate with her husband.
Horvath’s husband, who entered the coop first, confirmed her worst fear — there was someone inside who didn’t belong.
“I was thinking it was maybe a snake or some baby chicks,” Horvath told The Dodo. “To my surprise, it was six kittens!”
Horvath and her husband were shocked to find a litter of kittens in one of the coop’s nesting boxes, especially since they’d never seen a pregnant cat on their property.
The coop’s intended residents were also alarmed by the kittens’ presence.
“The chickens were squawking at them from outside the coop,” Horvath said.
The couple opened the lid to the nesting box to get a better look at the babies, but the little ones made it clear that they didn’t want anyone getting close.
“The first time we opened the coop, the kittens were hissing and did not want to be messed with,” Horvath said, “but they were well taken care of by Mama.”
The kittens’ round bellies and wet noses suggested that their mom was close by, so Horvath set out a tray of food and water then watched for the mama cat to appear.
“We left them alone and kept an eye on them to see if the mama would come back for them,” Horvath said. “After a few hours, Mama came back to be with the kittens.”
The mama cat continued to care for her babies in the coop, where they grew alongside Horvath’s hens for the next few days. Before long, the kittens were big enough to explore their surroundings and, finally, interact with their roommates.
“They were very curious and noisy,” Horvath said. “They started to come out of the coop and were following the three hens around outside the yard.”
Horvath and her family loved watching the tiny kittens grow in their yard, but they soon realized that Mama had another plan for them.
“The mama came back for them and moved them one by one outside of our backyard fence,” Horvath said. “She eventually moved them all to a new location, and they were gone.”
Since then, Horvath hasn’t found anyone other than hens in her chicken coop. She misses the kitten family dearly, but she knows that they are off exploring the world with the same curiosity they’ve always had.
And if they ever venture back to the coop one day, Horvath — and her chickens — will be overjoyed to see the adorable little family again.