JORDAN, Minn., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A Minnesota woman said her 4-year-old Pekingese adopted a newborn kitten found by her grandson and began producing milk for the tiny feline.
Pat Weber of Jordan said her teenage grandson found the days-old kitten, which had yet to open its eyes, on the floor of their pole barn, where it had apparently been abandoned by its mother, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Tuesday.
"He brought her into the house and said 'I think she's dead,' " Weber said. "But I held her in the palm of my hand, and I could tell she was moving."
Weber said she set the "little ball of fur" on the carpet so she could call a veterinarian, and Mittens, her 4-year-old dog, then approached the kitten and allowed it to suckle.
"She decided that little kitten needed a mother," Weber said.
"I couldn't believe it at first," Weber said. "Later I took some pictures and took them to church and told people I had a miracle to share. The miracle was that after three days my dog had milk to feed the kitten with, and I didn't have to get up every two hours to feed her formula out of bottle."
Weber said Mittens gave birth to a litter of puppies about two years ago, and she had long since stopped nursing.
Weber said the kitten, which she named Bootsie, is now a healthy member of the family.
John King, a Le Sueur veterinarian and executive director of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association, said it is not unheard of for a dog to adopt a kitten.
"There's a strong maternal instinct in many animals, and they will foster other species. It depends on the temperament of the individual animals, both the baby and particularly the mother," he said.