By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 16 April 2011)
Cats Adopt Puppies
Cats often adopt animals of other species. In 2006, Mark Hofmann of the Daily Courier reported on a pug puppy, the runt of the litter, rejected by his own mother and subsequently adopted by the family cat Zoe. Zoe is reportedly not a fan of dogs in her day-to-day life, but for some reason made an exception for the abandoned puppy, nursing him alongside her own kittens.
Another story reported by the Associated Press in 2007 featured a nursing mother cat named Satin at the Meriden Humane Societywho adopted an orphaned Rottweiler puppy named Charlie. Charlie’s sibling was stillborn, and his mother subsequently rejected him. Satin cares for Charlie alongside her own kittens, and the kittens treat Charlie like family.
An online search indicates that cats adopt puppies on a regular basis (in some cases entire litters), as well as other animals including squirrels, rabbits, and even red pandas.
Cat Adopts Baby Red Pandas
According to BBC News, a Dutch zookeeper’s cat adopted two baby red pandas that had been rejected by their mother. After the mother panda abandoned her two cubs, the zoo placed them in an incubator to keep them warm. The zoo keeper’s pet cat had recently given birth, however, and she allowed the panda cubs to come and nurse alongside her own kittens. One of the panda cubs was very weak and didn’t make it. The other cub has been doing well with its new feline mother, though it is still tiny – smaller than the kittens that have become its adopted siblings.
Red pandas are an endangered species found in Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Burma. Distant relatives of the giant panda, red pandas have reddish-brown fur on their bodies; darker fur on their legs, chests, and stomachs; white patches on their faces; and tails that are striped like those of raccoons. In adulthood they are not much larger than domestic cats.
Cat Adopts Baby Squirrel
Jim and Karen Watkins of Jackson, Mississippi, have generously taken in pets for friends unable to care for them. The couple has 18 cats, including the recently acquired Emmy, who came with a litter of kittens and a baby squirrel named Rocky.
Rocky had fallen from a tree near Emmy’s former owner’s home. Not knowing what to do for the squirrel, Emmy’s prior owner dumped it in with Emmy’s kittens in the hope that Emmy would adopt it. Sure enough, Emmy welcomed little Rocky and nursed him alongside her own kittens.
Rocky the foster squirrel has surprised everyone by learning how to purr. When petted, he purrs like a kitten. This is a great skill to have, as scientific research indicates that purring can speed the healing process for certain injuries.
On reading these stories, I grew curious as to whether dogs also adopt cats. A quick online search of “dog adopts kittens” turned up a plethora of cuteness-overload videos depicting dog mothers caring for young kittens, which begs the question, is it compassion or simply instinct? Given that the majority of pets show concern for their owners’ wellbeing, I think it’s reasonable to assume that this concern can be extended to those of other species.
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