When Ronan and Emma Lally decided to introduce ducks onto their small farm in Ireland, they did not expect a cat to help raise them.
The couple acquired some fertilized eggs and were preparing for them to hatch.
One day soon after, Ronan went to check on the eggs and found that they had hatched.
But there were no ducklings to be found.
As they found the hatched eggs, a cat jumped down from a gap in a stone wall, and so Ronan thought the worst had happened.
They searched the farm for six hours, their hopes slowly fading for the ducklings, but eventually, they found them safe and in a surprising place.
A mother’s instincts
At first, Ronan and Emma thought that they were about to see the cat kill the ducklings in front of them because when they found them the cat had a duckling in her mouth.
But it turned out that the cat, now named Della, thought that the ducklings were her kittens!
Emma noticed that Della was not using force with the ducklings but treating them like kittens.
They decided to keep watch and see how they interacted, and to their joy, Emma was right.
What’s more, they noticed that Della had just given birth to three kittens “only an hour or so beforehand”.
The fact that she had just given birth is most likely the reason why Della took charge of these ducklings so dotingly.
Upon this amazing discovery, Ronan and Emma went to move the new family to a safer area, upon which they found another surprise.
The ducklings were latching onto Della just like the kittens for milk.
She had truly adopted them.
Despite Ronan’s worries that Della’s mothering instinct may wane after a few days, Emma was certain that the ducklings were safe under Della’s care.
As a practicing midwife, Emma recognized the same look she sees in her human patients, saying:
“There was just so much love there”
And again, she was right.
As the ducklings began to grow more independent, Della was still treating them like kittens, picking them up when they wandered too far and trying to correct bad behavior.
Even though they were no longer yellow, Della still mothered her ducks.
And the ducks still loved their surrogate mother cat.