Stray Pit Bull Adopts Orphaned Kitten, Nurses Her Until Rescue Arrives
Love knows no bounds, and this unlikely family is living proof. In a remarkable story of survival despite the odds, a stray pit bull was found to be raising a helpless orphaned kitten, keeping the newborn alive with her life-giving milk.
The pair were discovered last Tuesday on a roadside by an animal rescue group in Texas. At first, it appeared the pit bull was with a puppy, but upon closer inspection they realized that it was in fact a tiny cat, no more than a few days old, suckling on her nipple. They rushed them both to the Mercy Animal Clinic in Dallas where veterinarian Dr. Rick Hamlin was astonished by their story and their bond.
"Over my 28-year career, I've never seen anything like this," Hamlin told The Dodo. "My gosh, to find this in the wild, that a pit bull and kitten found each other on their own and they connected like they did, it's really something."
Fortunately, both the dog and the kitten were in reasonably good health - but the rescue couldn't have come too soon.
Upon examination, Hamlin found that the adoptive mother's milk had recently dried up, so he and his staff immediately took to feeding the tiny kitten by bottle. When they did, the maternal instincts of the dog were unmistakable. She refused to leave the baby's side, sweetly cleaning her with her tongue as she ate.
It was clear that she had worked hard to keep the kitten alive on the street.
"If she hadn't been getting enough milk, she wouldn't have made it," says Hamlin.
While it's unclear just how the dog and kitten came to find one another on the unforgiving streets as strays, Hamlin believes their union was serendipitous in any case.
"In this particular area, there's a lot of strays, so my best guess is that the mother pit bull had a litter of pups and they died or weened and she still had milk. And the kitten's mother, who just had her - well, something must have happened to her, and this kitten was left behind. The pit bull probably found her and took it as her own," says Hamlin.
"They found each other at the perfect time."
Since last week, the pit bull and her kitten baby have been virtually inseparable. Staff at the clinic have chosen to keep them both in the same kennel, as the devoted mother howls whenever they're parted. That, and she's embraced her motherly duties completely.
"The bond between this pit bull and the kitten is just amazing. She cleans it, she licks it, and they snuggle up," says Hamlin. "They're doing absolutely well. It's great that we're able to give the kitten the nutrition it needs, and to keep them both together."
In the next few weeks, once the kitten is strong enough, the clinic hopes to find the two former strays a forever home - one they can share together.
"We have stipulated for adoption, that whoever wants to adopt, adopts them as a pair," Hamlin says. "They've been through so much, we can't separate them."