Nursing Siamese Cat Takes On Six Orphaned Puppies
On March 7, Amanda welcomed three kittens of her own. That same day, owner Debbie Girting's 5-year-old Maltese Shih Tzu, Lucy, had her own litter of seven puppies. Four days after giving birth, Lucy suffered a seizure, leaving her hungry puppies to latch onto Amanda and rival for milk among feline siblings.
"I don't know if they even realize that their mother is not the same thing as they are," Girting tells PEOPLEPets.com. "But Amanda cleans them and nurses them."
Although one smaller puppy and one undersized kitten didn't survive, the remaining animals are doing just fine. Girting is supplementing their meals with a milk substitute, and each of the puppies is developing a bond with their rather unusual new caretaker.
"I'll get up in the middle of the night, and they'll all be sleeping around her," Girting says. "She'll have her paw around a couple of them. I'm just amazed. She's a good little mother. She's just mothering these guys like they're a part of her."
According to Dr. Doug Knueven, a veterinarian at the nearby Beaver Animal Clinic, the cat's milk poses no risk to the puppies, but he suggests monitoring the nursing to make sure Amanda and her new family maintain their health.
"I worry that the puppies, even though they're nursing, may not be getting enough nutrition," says Dr. Knueven. Girting will have to keep a close eye on both mother and babies for the next few months. "The puppies could be stronger than the kittens, and possibly injure the nipples and maybe cause a skin infection," he adds.
In the meantime, the mixed bunch are causing quite a stir. Girting, a nursing assistant and owner of four other dogs, has already taken the puppies to visit her patients, who've cheekily asked, "What are you going to do when it meows?"
The Maltese Pomeranian litter will soon be available for adoption, but Girting plans to keep one for herself, a girl that she will name Lacy to carry on the memory of her mother Lucy, a dog that Girting considered one of her own children.
"They're my miracle dogs," she says. "Who would have thought that they would have survived?"
See more surrogate mothers on PEOPLEPets.com:
Nearly Frozen, Abandoned Baby Meerkats Bounce Back from Brink
PHOTO: Mama Dog Feeds Baby Lion Cub!