Mother cats have long been known to take in kittens from other litters. I’ve even seen that myself.
Long ago, a traveling theater company came to my hometown for a summer engagement of performances and classes. My mother made friends with some of the cast and crew, and one of them had brought his pregnant cat with him. She gave birth to a litter of three Siamese-cross kittens in her temporary quarters on the coast of Maine, but the man couldn’t take the babies with him when he returned to his New York apartment because he was only allowed to have one cat.
My family’s resident mom-cat, Iris, had given birth to her own litter a few weeks before, and my mother offered to take the kittens to our place and see whether Iris would accept them. She did, and the rest is history.
I’ve also heard stories of mother cats adopting strange babies, but I’d never seen it until I read a story about a cat that adopted a baby squirrel.
It all started when a woman put in a call to Central Mississippi T.A.I.L.S. Her cat, Emmy, had given birth to a litter. Unfortunately, the cat’s owner was harboring her in a place where no pets were allowed. When Emmy had her kittens, it became clear that the owner couldn’t keep the little family, and she wanted to find a safe place for them.
T.A.I.L.S. stepped in, and Jim and Karen Watkins took Emmy and her litter into their care.
That part’s not so unusual. It happens every day. But here’s where the story takes a turn for the awesome.
Just before Emmy’s owner gave up the cats, a baby squirrel fell out of its nest high in a tree. Karen couldn’t climb up and put it back, so she did the best thing she could think of: she put the squirrel into the family of felines and hoped for the best.
It must have been the maternal hormones coursing through Emmy’s body that saw a hungry baby in need of nurturing rather than a tasty snack, because “she just immediately accepted it and adopted it, started feeding it, has raised it just like hers,” said Jim.
Motherhood really does know no bounds.
Not only has the baby squirrel, who’s been dubbed Rocky, bellied up to Emmy’s milk bar and enjoyed sleeping and playing with his feline siblings, he’s even learned to purr. In the video below, you can see that for yourself.
Rocky will never be able to survive on his own, now that he’s been raised as a pet cat, so the Watkins will probably end up keeping the little guy for the duration of his natural life.
Check out the news story about Rocky and his new-found family:
(In a reader? Watch the video here.)