Steamboat Springs Tami Havener and Sharyl Ritschel of Discovery Learning Center got a surprise Tuesday morning when a stray cat showed up at the child care facility and gave birth shortly afterward.
Ritschel was working at her desk when the orange tabby wandered into the building through the open front door.
She tried to shoo the cat away, until she noticed the cat was about to become a mother.
Havener and Ritschel decided to allow the cat to stay and she immediately crawled under a desk to take a brief nap before giving birth to a stillborn kitten.
Animal Control officer Sanne Pollak took the cat and her stillborn kitten to the Pet Kare Clinic. Jalyn Ormerod, a certified vet technician, examined the mother and determined another kitten was on the way.
A healthy kitten was born soon afterward.
Pollak said there was no indication the cat belonged to anyone.
"Nobody has called yet," Pollak said. "She's probably a stray."
On Sunday, another new mother had been hit by a car, leaving her litter of five kittens behind. Ormerod had been helping this litter, bottle-feeding the kittens every three hours. When the tabby arrived at Pet Kare and saw one of the orphaned kittens, she took it as her own. Eventually, the new mother cat accepted the rest of the orphaned litter.
"That's rare," Ormerod said. "It happens, but not very often."
All of the kittens are healthy and doing well.
Three of the orphaned kittens -- Bruce, Pablo and Gracie -- remain at the Pet Kare Clinic. The mother and three smallest kittens are with a foster family.
All of the kittens and the mother, who Pollak said looks to be about 8 months old -- likely will be ready for adoption in three weeks.
Ormerod believes that the kittens will be long-haired.
Pollak said the cats joined a growing list of felines at the shelter needing homes.
"There's currently a major outbreak of kittens," she said. "Usually kittens are born in the springtime, so it's very late this year."
Ritschel said it was the first time that she is aware of that an animal has given birth at the child care center.
"It was interesting," Ritschel said. "I'm just glad that she's OK."