Cats and dogs are supposed to be mortal enemies, but it seems a mother’s love can overlook the interspecies differences.
A black cat with white paws is nursing two puppies so young their eyes aren’t even open yet and another 3-week-old adopted kitten.
The cat, which doesn’t have a name, was brought in to Rock Island County Animal Care and Control with her own litter of kittens. Some of the kittens died and the remaining ones were weaned when the young kitten arrived at the shelter.
Shelter staff put the black kitten in with the mom and she took to it right away. But when the puppies were found in Moline late last week, there weren’t any nursing dogs to serve as a foster mom to the delicate pups.
“We didn’t know what we were going to do,” said Sam DeYoung, operations director of Animal Care and Control. “They didn’t have their eyes open, they were 1-week-old, so we decided to try putting them with the momma cat, and they latched on and away they went.”
The cat takes her mothering duties seriously, letting anyone who puts a hand in her crate know that these are her babies and they are not to be touched.
The kitten is more than twice the size of the puppies, whose cries for milk are barely audible. They climb all over each other, vying for a better spot to feed from. It’s too early to tell what breed the puppies are, but shelter staff can tell by their tiny size that they are a small-breed dog.
“She’s just an all-around supermom,” said Laurel Harmening, animal caretaker at the shelter. “She just loves being a mom.”
The shelter is overrun with cats and kittens right now and finding foster homes that can bottle feed kittens and puppies every three hours is a challenge. So the cat is saving two foster homes by nursing the kitten and puppies, as well as delivering nutrients and immunities that they can’t get from formula.
The kitten will stay with the cat until it is weaned, and the puppies will stay with their unlikely foster mom for about two weeks before going to a foster home. DeYoung said anyone interested in adopting the animals should wait about eight weeks before contacting the shelter, because it will take that long to get all the animals altered and vaccinated.
Rock Island Animal Care and Control
4001 78th Avenue
Moline IL 61265
Phone: (309) 558-DOGS (3647)