AsiaAsia, Shannon Torrez’s Sharpei Pitbull mix, had one puppy, Raider, and her mothering instinct was in high gear already so when Shannon brought in three abandoned kittens, just weeks old, Asia decided that they were going to be hers too.

“I got a call from a friend of mine that three kittens had been dropped off on her front porch in a little bucket and she didn’t know what to do with them. I went and picked them up, figuring I was going to have to bottle feed them for a little while before adopting them,” Shannon said. “When I got home Asia was kind of throwing a fit that I had the kittens and she wanted to see them. I put them up to her and she didn’t want to me to get them out of her sight.”

Although this may sound unusual to us, it’s actual quite common for abandoned babies to be mothered by another animal, even by a animal of a different species as we can see again and again and  this mothering instinct isn’t just confined to caring for other animals, in this story a nursing mother dog even rescued a newborn child she found that needed care.

As for Asia, she adopted those kittens and cared for them as her own puppy; cleaning, feeding and protecting them.

“The first couple of days she wouldn’t leave their side at all. It took her a few days for them to get settled in and for her to get comfortable before she would even leave the box,” she said.

Vets don’t find it unusual at all, “It occurs actually pretty often,” said Dr. Lane Preston with the Animal Medical Center in Lubbock. “She goes ahead and adopts those kittens as her own even though they’re not hers. They don’t smell like dogs but the urge to mother and nurse is greater than all of those things.”

To those in shelter and rescue settings, they see it quite a bit as well.  They’ll have a litter of puppies or kittens that need a mother and put a call out for a nursing mother or look in the shelter population so you have this cross species mothering there as well.  Also you’ll have a female that may goes through a false labor and actually produce milk so you have them looking for babes to mother.  Nature is amazing and the milk isn’t so different that there’s any problems of complications.

Asia will mother the kittens for a few more weeks then it will be time to find them loving forever homes…

Mothering instinct…. crossing all lines… humans could do well to take lessons…




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