SPANISH FORK — Seven tiny kittens are alive thanks to the efforts of a crew of landscapers.
After a full day of work Wednesday, Green Forest Landscaping employees heard tiny meows coming from under their equipment at the Fieldstone Homes construction site in Spanish Fork. Workers peeked through an open space in the Caterpillar skid steer tractor and saw kittens.
Thanks to the dedication of these workers, these kittens will soon have homes.
Video shows the workers using tools to remove the cab from the tractor.
"Lift it here," you can hear one say. "Use this tool."
About 1:30 into the video, audible little kitten cries begin to sound.
“Oh look how skinny they are! They haven’t had anything to eat. Poor things,” one worker can be heard saying as landscapers lift off the cab.
The group freed six 3-week-old kittens, and, after failing to find an owner for the kittens in the neighborhood, took them to a local PetSmart.
"I opened it because they were so little," Jose Arias, one of the landscapers, said. "I don’t have any cats, but I don’t want them to live in the machine and so I (opened) it and (pulled) them out."
All the kittens — including a seventh sibling found inside the same tractor Thursday — are now with cat rescue organization Ashley Valley Community Cats, where they are being treated for upper respiratory infections.
"We've done rescue work since 2012 and this is probably the craziest story we've had," said Aubrey Moulton, Ashley Valley Community Cats coordinator.
The kittens' mother likely moved her nest, and the kittens, inside the equipment to keep them safe from natural predators, she said.
The kittens are among 100 the organization has rescued and placed with foster families in the past week. Ashley Valley relies on donations of litter and food to help those who foster. Moulton, who houses cats herself, said "fostering is a lot easier than you would anticipate."
"I have a small bedroom that I've kind of turned into a cattery for cats," she said. "These guys are clearly so small. They don't take up all that much room."
Once people see the cats, they are sold.
"The hardest thing is just getting them in front of people," she said. "People can come and hold them and fall in love with them."
Ashley Valley is a no-kill shelter, servicing the Vernal, Utah County and Rock Springs areas. It also has the most adoptions of the feline-only rescues in Utah.
Because the kittens are so young and small, it will be at least five weeks before they weigh enough to be adopted, she said. Friday morning, Ashley Valley trapped the kittens' mother. She will be sterilized, and then reunited with her babies.
"So she can kind of raise them for us," Moulton said. "Hopefully we can tame her and get her adopted as well."
If workers determine that she is feral, "which we're thinking she might be, she'll be ear-tipped so that you can tell she has been spayed/vaccinated, and she'll be released," Moulton added.
Two kittens have already been reserved for adoption. Those interested in adopting other kittens can fill out an application on the Ashley Valley Community Cats website.
Ashley Valley Community Cats will hold an adoption event on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at the Petco in Orem (85 S. State Street).