When a Chihuahua rejected her premature puppies after giving birth, the quick thinking of SPCA staff found the tiny pups a new mom (video below).
Debra Cantwell, an SPCA adoption coordinator, was working at an SPCA in Florida when a pregnant Chihuahua gave birth to a small litter of puppies, according to a report by USA Today. The births were premature, but two of the four puppies delivered that day survived. Unfortunately, the mother Chihuahua didn't want to take care of her newborns.
The premature puppies weighed just a couple ounces each and didn't stand much chance of survival without a mother to nurse them. Having had luck with surrogates for orphaned animals in the past, Cantwell's team moved fast to find the pair of abandoned Chihuahuas a foster mom.
"We had a nursing cat upstairs that had newborn babies," Cantwell said. "We took the puppies and put them on her to see if she would like them and she loved them."
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The mother cat, Nessy, immediately bonded with the puppies, taking them under her wing and caring for them as if they were her own. In the video, the Siamese mix can be seen lovingly nuzzling the puppies while Cantwell shows them to the camera. The mother seems to be impatiently waiting for the puppies. When they are all back down with the rest of her littler, she snuggles up with them for a nap.
"I think they're just a cute little family," Cantwell added. "And I think she's doing a great job raising them."
SPCA staff believes the puppies will bond and play with Nessy's kittens while they all grow up together as littermates.
As sad is it is any time a small animal is orphaned before it can fend for itself, it seems the animal kingdom has equipped functioning maternal instincts to work across species barriers. Stories of mother cats adopting orphaned puppies aren't at all uncommon.
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In April 2016, an orphaned puppy, also a Chihuahua, made the news when he was taken in by a nursing cat.
"After he's big enough, we are going to get him in foster care among dogs, so he can learn to be a dog," Michigan Humane Society staff member Ryan McTigue told ABC News. "He'll be a good ambassador for both species, that's for sure."
Just a month earlier, another unconventional group was in the news after two puppies were orphaned. Their mother was hit by a car and the two pups, just 2 weeks old, were too young to survive alone. They each joined one mother cat at a local SPCA and were instantly part of the litter.
"The puppies sleep with the kittens," Shelter Supervisor Chris Bussy told The Huffington Post. "They're one big happy family."