We have seen many instances of dogs adopting kittens – and pigs, and lion cubs, and goats – to parent them when they are orphaned. But perhaps no example is as heartwarming as the example of 11 motherless kittens who found a canine mom at a shelter.
17. Kittens In a Box
It all started in Multnomah County Animal Services in Troutdale, Oregon, where 11 tiny kittens were brought to the shelter in a box. According to Ronda, a foster parent, someone simply showed up at the shelter with a box full of kittens that they may have said they found. This isn’t the actual box….just a shot of some of the brood!
16. Just Weeks Old
Ronda told Love Meow that the kittens were only weeks old and represented at least two different litters. Ronda is a rescuer and expert at fostering kittens at that age, so she volunteered to take care of them. She’s an expert and has raised hundreds of kittens.
15. Three Groups of Kittens
The kittens were brought to Ronda in three groups. “They were all very sick and malnourished,” she said. Luckily they were in the right home and would get plenty of love from their foster siblings.
The kittens were instantly comfortable in their new surroundings. With the love of Ronda and her family, the kittens played and snuggled together in blankets or on their new humans’ laps. They also liked to snuggle with each other!
13. Healthy Eaters
The kittens proved to be big eaters, and the more they ate the stronger they became. The 11 were gradually nursed back to excellent health. It was great news for Ronda who had worked hard to give the kittens their best chance.
Ronda and her husband not only nursed them around the clock, they taught the 11 kittens to play and be social. Socialization is actually an important part of kitten raising because you only have a small window – typically 2 to 7 weeks but it can go up to 14 weeks.
11. Surrogate Dog Mom
Their family dog, Zuca, was also on hand to smooth the transition. Zuca is an old pro at fostering since his mom and dad are experts. The family has cared for over 100 kittens during the last three years.
Zuca took the kittens under her wing immediately. She knew exactly how gentle or how rough to be with them. “She is such a good mom that she serves as a surrogate for them,” Ronda said. Zuca has raised over 100 kittens!
9. Mr. Henry and Inez
These two kittens, Mr. Henry and Inez, are getting a quick bath from Zuca. “She puts up with so much! She lets kittens crawl all over her, bite her, scratch her, jump on her face, you name it. In exchange, all she asks is to clean their face off after dinner.”
Zuca knows how to approach the kittens and values each one for their special personality. “She knows how to lay perfectly still and avoid eye contact for the shy kitties while approaching and going in for the kiss with the social kittens,” Ronda observed.
Here tiny kitten Kumar is cuddling up in Zuca’s arms for a night of relaxation. The kittens instinctively know that Zuca will protect them. They run right up to her when they need comfort, just as they would with their feline mom.
6. Zuca’s Kittens
These kittens started out struggling, but are now thriving. They even have their own fan club on Facebook, Zuca’s Kittens. You can also see them on Instagram!
5. Stacy Sinclair
Each cat has its own persona. Stacy Sinclair is described as “a feisty, bold little calico with a cute little tuxedo pattern and a purr box that never stops running. The colors of her belly make me think of a hot fudge sundae with caramel sauce.”
4. Mr. Henry
Mr. Henry is an orange man that is sure to steal your heart! He’s absolutely darling. Did you know that the orange tabby coat comes in four different shades? Male orange tabbies are the most common: 75% of orange tabbies are male.
3. Dignan and Rocky
Dignan and Rocky look almost identical. Dignan, however, has a white mustache to make her tuxedo extra fancy.
Carmen is a dilute calico with the personality to match. She has a stubby little tail and enjoys her food so much she makes biscuits and purrs while eating. Dilute calicos mean that their fur isn’t dark, but instead light, in the colorful patches.
1. Bob Maplethorpe
Bob Maplethorpe is named after the famous and controversial photographer. He is a blue-grey boy who is “the largest male and is a very good big brother to the little ones. He’s the sweetest boy who just melts into your arms when you pick him up and snuggle him. He loves Zuca and toys and food and naps and playing and food and everything!” He went to his forever home with Applejack and Grace in July.