Mama Cat Adopts Tiny Kitten Who’s Different Than The Rest

“She just softened immediately" ❤️

Cleo was only 4 days old when she arrived at Helen Woodward Animal Center.

The tiny, hairless sphynx cat was starving, and without a mother to care for her, shelter staff feared the fragile kitten wouldn’t make it.

Hairless sphynx kitten at animal shelter
Helen Woodward Animal Center

“Cleo was very undersized when she arrived,” Jessica Gercke, communications director for the shelter, told The Dodo. “Our vet immediately started bottle-feeding her, but getting Cleo to drink was very slow-going.”

“Ultimately, we knew that she really needed to feed off of a mother to have her best chance of survival,” she added. “But we continued to do our best.”

Helen Woodward Animal Center

A week later, a pregnant cat named Bellarina arrived, answering their prayers. The shelter hoped that Bellarina would welcome the little kitten into her family once she gave birth, but they couldn’t be sure.

“She gave birth three days after arrival, and seeing how great she was with her own kittens, we introduced her to Cleo,” Gercke said. “We knew that Cleo, being hairless, would feel and smell different than her own kittens, so we all crossed our fingers.”

When Bellarina met Cleo, she could tell the tiny kitten needed help. She didn’t care that Cleo was different and adopted her without hesitation.

Mother cat adopts tiny, hairless kitten
Helen Woodward Animal Center

“She just softened immediately to the teeny kitten and favored her during feedings, rolling over to Cleo first and picking her up with her mouth to make sure she had a good spot!” Gercke said. “She loved grooming her and nuzzling her. It was incredibly touching to all of us.”

Helen Woodward Animal Center

At home with her foster mom, Bellarina continued to care for her fluffy kittens — and Cleo.

“She treated her just as she did her other babies,” Traci Parker, Bellarina’s foster, told The Dodo. “She even kept a closer eye on her because she looks different and needs a little extra care. She was the best mom.”

Traci Parker

Due to Cleo’s unique look, she needs to be kept warm and receives daily baths and massages with coconut oil from her foster mom. But thanks to Bellarina and Parker, Cleo is thriving and will soon be available for adoption.

“Cleo is inquisitive and curious,” Parker said. “She loves playing with the feather toys and with her siblings. She also loves her furry, round bed, which is super soft on her skin.”

Traci Parker

Now, Bellarina and her other kittens are ready to find their forever homes, while Cleo continues her journey to becoming a healthy, happy cat.

“Cleo will stay with us for another month as she continues to grow and put on weight,” Gercke said. “She needs the extra time to make up for her slow start, but we foresee a beautiful future for her.”

If you are interested in adopting Bellarina or her kittens, you can fill out an application here.