Cat nurses orphan puppies

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A cat in a Manitoba shelter has taken to nursing three abandoned puppies along with her own kittens.

"Last Tuesday I received a phone call from a resident in a nearby community that informed me that four newborn puppies (only a few days old) were left in a box by a gas station. Sadly, it was believed that the mother of the pups was killed," Oswald Sawh, chairman of the Thompson Humane Society, wrote on the shelter’s Facebook page.

One of the pups died within a few days, and because they’re so young, bottle-feeding can be touch and go.

So board member Glenda Weir and veterinarian Jen Nyhof suggested putting the three remaining pups in with a cat that was already nursing four kittens.

"There were skeptics, and I for one was one of them, who felt uncomfortable with the proposed arrangement. There was the obvious fear that the mother cat may turn on these defenceless pups," Sawh wrote.

Quite the contrary, the cat — whom staff have dubbed Momma — treats the pups the same as her kittens.

"She grooms the three pups like they were her own," Sawh wrote. "She is truly an extraordinary cat. The compassion and motherly instinct she demonstrates not only shows us the true wonder of nature but serves as a lesson to all of us."

When the pups and kittens are between six and eight weeks old, the shelter hopes to adopt them out — and Momma, too.

"As for Momma, the best way we can say thank you is by making sure we find her a loving home."