Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Goodwood’s Festival of Speed over the weekend to listen to the purring engines of their favourite racing cars.
But there was another purring for organisers to deal with as workmen set about the long task of breaking down the stands and displays after the event closed on Sunday.
As workmen deconstructed a huge mobile motoring display at Goodwood House on Monday, July 3, they stumbled across a litter of tiny kittens huddled underneath the structure.
Clare Palmer, branch manager at RSPCA Mount Noddy, the animal centre in Eartham, was at the event all weekend with a number of volunteers. She said: ‘What’s ironic is we’d been at the four-day event running a stall and raising awareness of the work we do at our centre nearby.
‘We could have easily sprung into action if there had been any animal welfare issues during the course of the event but we didn’t get a call about these kittens until we’d left the site.’
Clare rushed back to collect the three tiny, black kittens and set a cat-trap for the fourth kitten who staff hadn’t managed to catch.
On Wednesday, July 5, she returned to the estate to collect the last kitten, a little grey.
Clare said: ‘Unfortunately we weren’t able to locate mum and suspect all the commotion and crowds frightened her away.
‘She probably moved them under the structure when all the preparation for the festival was going on in the hopes of keeping them safe.
‘But with 200,000 people walking over the top of them it’s not surprising she was spooked and ran away.’
The six-week-old kittens, who are semi-feral, are now being cared for by staff at Mount Noddy Animal Centre, which is also the charity’s local headquarters.
‘They may not have been the loudest purrers of the weekend but they were certainly the cutest,’ Clare added.
‘You could say the event included both The Fast and The Furriest!’
Clare said it was ‘only right’ they were given motoring-themed names, so they have been christened Bentley, Lotus, Ferrari and Subaru. The kittens will be cared for by the centre’s cat carers who will also try to build their confidence around people. Once old enough, Mount Noddy will find them all loving new homes.
A Goodwood spokesman added: ‘We’re really pleased the kittens are safely being looked after and hope they will find loving homes. They certainly come with the very best in motorsport credentials.’
If you’re interested in offering one of Mount Noddy’s cats a new home, please call the centre on 01243 773359 or visit the website: www.rspca.org.uk/local/sussex-chichester-and-district-branch. To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).