Tiny newborn kittens had a lucky escape when they fell from a huge height after their mother gave birth in a tree.

The stray cat climbed up to the only safe place she could find and three out of four of the kittens dropped, while one dangled from the placenta.

Concerned passers-by rang the RSPCA when the newborns began falling from the tree and they were taken to Putney Animal Hospital.

Three of the tiny black felines survived, but one died overnight.

RSPCA inspector Phil Norman, who attended the rescue in Hounslow last Tuesday evening, said: “We believe the mother had given birth up in the tree where she felt safe and secure and away from any danger.

“But for day-old kittens to be at such a height is obviously potentially very dangerous and three of the four babies had actually fallen from the tree.

“One of them was still attached to the placenta and was very precariously hanging from a branch when I arrived, and the others had all fallen from the tree and were left lying on the ground and in nearby bushes.

“Thankfully, they weren’t injured and we could hear the fourth kitten squeaking so we managed to find them all before catching mum who was quite nervous.

“It’s sad that one of the little kittens didn’t make it but I’m really pleased that the mum is doing well and the other three seem to be feeding well."

If no one comes forward to claim the mother, nicknamed Twiggy, and her kittens Willow, Ash and Oakley, will be rehomes once they are weaned and old enough.

Inspector Norman added: “It’s amazing really that these kittens were spotted and weren’t seriously hurt.

“They were very young and vulnerable, probably only a day or two old, and their eyes were still closed.

“Thank goodness the people who spotted them acted quickly and got in touch with us.”