A cat and her kittens are recovering well after she gave birth to the litter 25ft up a tree.
The cat, who has been named Squirrel, and one of the kittens was spotted poking their heads out of the tree by a member of the public, who then contacted the RSPCA.
After inspectors realised the tree was too high for them to reach, the fire service had to be contacted to help with the operation.
RSPCA trainee inspector Sarah Burrows said: "She clearly thought this was the best place to keep her kittens safe, but I don't think she had really thought it through as to how she was going to get them down afterwards!
"I couldn't quite believe it when I got the call to say that a cat and her newborn kittens were up in a tree."
Three kittens were found up the tree and they are believed to be just two weeks old. The family is now being cared for by fosterers.
Malcolm Hall, customer care manager at the RSPCA's Derby and District Branch said there is a crisis at the moment, with increasing numbers of unwanted and abandoned cats being brought into the charity's care every day.
He said anyone thinking about getting a cat should consider adopting a rescue cat as centres are full of cats looking for new homes.