Mother cat, kittens trapped inside wall at Hamilton construction site

The five week old kittens now need a new home (New Lives Animal Rescue / Donna Young)
The five week old kittens now need a new home (New Lives Animal Rescue / Donna Young)

A mother cat and a litter of kittens are trapped inside a wall at a Hamilton construction site.

So far, attempts to extract her have yielded two babies - one ginger, one black - but mum and the rest of the litter are still in hiding, and it's driving workers crazy.

A man working at the Hawkins site in Te Rapa, in the city's north, posted on Facebook on Wednesday about the "constant meowing" he had to endure, complaining no one was allowed to knock a hole in the wall to let them out.

"The worst part about it is eventually when/if it dies, we will need to tear the wall down because of the smell that will then cause," the anonymous worker wrote.

Local woman Sarah Louise saw the post and was outraged.

"I was like what the hell, why does no one want to save the cat?"

She rang the council, who told her they don't save cats - just dogs. So she called the fire service.

"She was like, 'We don't save animals, that's not a good enough location, that's not good enough information, and we don't have time,'" Ms Louise told Newshub.

"I was surprised the fire brigade didn't want to help, because I thought they liked helping animals."

Eventually Ms Louise was put onto New Lives, a volunteer outfit funded by donations and an op-shop. They attended the site on Thursday with the fire service - who told Newshub they absolutely do rescue animals - and made a hole in the wall.

On Friday morning New Lives founder Donna Young visited the site and collected the two kittens, which are about five weeks old and healthy, but timid. She will try and find new homes for the pair.

Mother cat, kittens trapped inside wall at Hamilton construction site

"People have a real attitude against stray cats," says Ms Young. "I've seen some really yucky stuff done to stray cats - they class them as a pest and can't be bothered with them."

Traps have been set to catch mum and the rest of the litter - hopefully sooner rather than later.

Hawkins told Newshub its staff had mentioned hearing a cat, and since animals are a hazard on construction sites, told them to let management know if they heard it. As soon as the cat was located, Hawkins says it contacted Hamilton City Council's animal control unit, which put them in touch with New Lives.

The company says the Facebook post about the "depressing" meowing wasn't made by one of its staff, suggesting it may have been a subcontractor unaware of the steps site managers were taking.

It was just one of three cat rescues the fire service carried out in the upper North Island on Wednesday.

Fire service northern acting shift manager Carren Larking said whoever told Ms Louise the fire service doesn't rescue animals made a mistake.

"If it's a cat that's been up a tree for an hour or so, no; if it's physically trapped - in a car engine, in a wall, anything they can't self-rescue from - we will rescue them.

"We don't put on our sirens, but we're all animal lovers in here."

Ms Young is "frickin' stressed" at the explosion in her workload after the local branch of the SPCA shut its doors.

"I got call yesterday about a chicken - I can't do everything," founder Donna Young told Newshub on Thursday.

"Yesterday morning I had my day all planned then all of a sudden I was grabbing 17 kittens."

Waikato SPCA closed at the end of November due to lack of staff and resources and a $390,000 deficit. In 2014, it recorded a $24,000 surplus.

"They had the funds, they've had money," says Ms Young. "They were $390000 in debt, and the national office has also known about the issues, and it shouldn't have taken this long. Somebody should have stepped in before they closed."

Even before then, she says the SPCA was dropping the ball.

"I've done more work than the SPCA for quite some time. I'll be frank about that. And I will keep going - I have to."

If you would like to donate to New Lives, details can be found on its website.