Three trapped kittens had a lucky escape after being rescued by builders who heard their cries coming from under the floorboards of a restaurant they were about to demolish.
The team of workmen spent a painstaking three hours freeing the animals after they became stuck inside the walls of the derelict building.
George Harman and his colleagues discovered the kittens as they were working on the former restaurant in Reading last week.
The builders were carrying out end-of-day checks on the building which they were set to demolish in a few hours time when they heard tiny cries coming from inside.
They set about finding the source of the noise and were shocked to discover a black kitten crying for its mother when they looked down a hole in the floorboards.
The team set about carefully cutting and removing floorboards and eventually came across another two stranded kittens.
Video footage shows the tiny creatures covered in debris and cobwebs following the three hour rescue mission.
George Harman, Project Manager at Bellwood Homes, said: “The third kitten was the challenge.
“We had heard more cries in the room but then there was silence. When it started crying again we managed to trace the noise to a bay window.
“We removed more and more flooring but we still couldn’t see a kitten anywhere. We could still hear the cries and then we realised they were coming from inside the wall.
“We started to remove each block by hand, gently tapping the blocks with a hammer trying to loosen them without causing any disruption or discomfort to the kitten.
“We removed 10 concrete blocks in total to find that a third kitten had somehow got into the cavity of the building.
The kittens looked to be in a pretty poorly state with gunk around their eyes.
“They were covered in cobwebs, dirt and dust and were so small you could feel every bone in their body. I can only imagine that they were starving hungry.”
There was no sign of the kittens’ mother so George took them to the Blue Cross’s re-homing centre in Lewknor.
The kittens were so young that they initially required around the clock care, having to be bottle-fed every four hours and helped to go to the toilet in the absence of their mother.
Now aged five weeks, the trio, who have been named Bill, Elle and Beatrix, are getting stronger by the day and will be going to new homes when they are old enough.
Laura Smart, Animal Welfare Assistant at Blue Cross Lewknor, fostered the kittens at her home.