Livi Boulting, 27, was having her breakfast at home when she spotted a tiny squirrel chasing her elderly cat around the garden.
Initially wary of the wild animal, Livi, from Devon, soon became friends with him when he ran up her dressing gown and nestled into her arm.
Livi and her mum, Catharine Boulting, 54, tried to encourage him back into the wild, only to find him tapping at their kitchen door the following morning.
They have named the cute creature Harold, and are spending their days with him in the garden enjoying the sunshine.
Livi, a sales and marketing manager, knew if they took him to the vet he may be put down as grey squirrels are considered pests and can’t be kept as pets.
So they let the squirrel stay in the garden, tending to him and giving him food.
The family guess he is about ten weeks old, as he has a full coat of fur but is still small enough to fit in the palm of Livi’s hand.
They can’t officially take him in as a pet but are letting him reside in their garden for now.
Livi, from Shaugh Prior, said: ‘I didn’t choose the squirrel life – the squirrel life chose me!
‘It’s definitely not the motherhood I expected, but beggars can’t be choosers – and he is so cute.’
Livi first noticed the squirrel when he was chasing Baby the cat but after the kitty went inside, Harold was still hanging around.
Before she knew what had happened, he’d run up her dressing gown and nestled in the crook of her arm!
‘He snuggled right in,’ Livi said.
‘I didn’t want to move and disrupt him – he fell asleep straight away.’
Livi called for the rest of her family to come outside and they were in awe at the tiny creature.
The family knew it wasn’t ‘normal’ to make friends with a squirrel, even less so to have one as a pet, so tried to put him back into the woods.
‘He kept going up into the same spot in the woodland behind our house, so one time we followed him and found a dead adult squirrel there,’ Livi said.
‘We realised he must be an orphan, but knew we couldn’t have him as a pet!’
Not wanting their new friend to come to any harm, they encouraged him to stay outdoors on Saturday night and find a new home.
The next morning, they came downstairs to find Harold tapping at their patio doors, waiting for the family to appear.
‘It was unbelievable – there he was again,’ Livi continued.
‘We spent the whole day with him outside in the sunshine – he just loves being close to you.’
Livi wasn’t sure whether he was old enough to find food for himself, so the family made him some snacks, including nuts, avocado and dandelions.
‘He loves avocado. Maybe he’s a millennial squirrel!’
Speaking of Harold’s characteristics, Livi said: ‘He’s cocky, but we love him.
‘If I’m outside, he’ll run up my legs and onto my shoulder – he loves to perch himself there.
‘He’ll nestle on you and fall asleep in seconds. And he loves his ears being rubbed.’
The family makes sure Harold still sleeps outside at night to keep the situation as normal as possible.
‘He’s more of a friend than a pet,’ she said.
‘Who knows how long he’ll stick around – but we’re enjoying his company very much while he does.’
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