A long-haired tabby cat has been hailed a hero after finding an abandoned baby on the street and climbing into the box he had been dumped in to keep him warm.
The compassionate cat then raised the alarm by mewing to draw attention to the baby in the city of Obninsk, western Russia.
Local resident Irina Lavrova, 68, had gone to throw out some rubbish when she heard Masha the cat calling loudly near the apartment block bins.
The stunned pensioner could not believe her eyes when she saw the baby boy lying amongst the trash in a box with Masha next to him.
She said: 'Masha is a communal cat who everyone takes turns in looking after.
'She is very placid and friendly so when I heard her mewing I thought that perhaps she had injured herself because normally she would have come and said hello to me.
'You can imagine my shock when I saw her lying in a box next to a baby.
'Clearly her mothering instincts had taken over and she wanted to protect the child.
'He was well-dressed with a little hat and whoever left him here had even left a few nappies and some baby food.'
After calling an ambulance the three-month-old toddler was taken to hospital where he was given a check up and declared fit and healthy.
A hospital spokesman said: 'The baby had only been outside for a few hours and thanks to Masha and the child’s clothing he was not damaged by the experience.'
Now local residents have hailed Masha as a proper hero.
OAP Irina said: 'Everyone in the block is very proud of her and we have all spoilt her rotten by giving her her favourite food.'
A police spokesman said they were looking into the case and would try and find the baby’s mother.