Abandoned duckling given new lease of life by toy cat

An abandoned duckling has adopted a soft toy cat as its mother after the fluffy feline helped save its life.

The ducking was discovered close to death but has since thrived with the help of its unusual companion.

Eileen Neill, who found and rescued the duck, said four weeks later it remains inseparable from the toy cat.

Abandoned duckling with toy cat
The abandoned duckling snuggles up to the toy cat (Eileen Neill/PA)

Mrs Neill, 57, from Abington, South Lanarkshire, was looking after a nearby farm while the owners were on holiday when she spotted the duckling had been abandoned by its mother.

She said: “I thought it was dead but it gave a little chirp. It was frozen and wet. I put it down my jacket and came home.

“I had a cabin with a heat lamp from when I rescued cats in the past so I put it there, but I thought it does need something to cuddle into.

“It put it down on a tea towel and put the toy cat in and snuggled it in with the heat lamp on. I wasn’t optimistic about it surviving.”

Duckling and toy cat
The duckling and its adopted mother under their heat lamp (Eileen Neill/PA)

Mrs Neill had to hold the duckling’s head up and give it drops of water, but within hours it had turned the corner.

“It thrived and it is still thriving,” she said.

“I’m really happy I’ve got it because I fell in love with it.

“I can’t wash the cat, I can’t take it away. Anywhere I sit the cat it runs to it. It obviously thinks the cat is its mum.

“As soon as a bird comes out of its egg it is looking for its mum.

“When I first brought it home, the part of the tea towel it was sitting on had an overlap and it was trying to go under it and I thought ‘you’re looking for your mum’.

“I went up to my daughter’s room and grabbed the first teddy I saw and it was the cat.

“It suited it well because it was soft and fluffy and the duckling could snuggle into it.”

Duckling and toy cat
The duckling is now around four weeks old but still stays close to the cuddly cat (Eileen Neill/PA)

Mrs Neill initially called the duckling Jeremy but it has since been renamed Jemima as she believes it may be female.

She has only kept chickens so far but plans to get two more ducks to keep Jemima company.

“I’m thinking as it gets older it will become more independent and having buddies should be a little boost as well,” she said.

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