Newsday Tuesday – Cats Who Give Back

We’ve all read sweet stories of cats helping other cats and even dogs protecting and nurturing kittens and cats. I saw a story this week about a dog who plays referee between two cats who can’t seem to get along with each other. Those cats are not going to hurt each other on his watch. Cats have been known to help other cats in a variety of ways. I once witnessed a life-saving gesture between cats when our sweet Himalayan-type cat, Maggie, adopted an unwanted kitten.

Maggie was already nursing her beautiful, plump litter of three colorful kittens when my daughter showed up with the scrawniest, nondescript (bordering on ugly) kitten I’d ever seen. No! The tiny dull-grey kitten was not a pretty sight. My daughter found the three-week-old kitten all alone in an orchard while jogging. We thought maybe she’d been snatched by a hawk or an owl and, for some reason, dropped far away from her mom and siblings. My daughter wondered if Maggie would feed the little thing and keep her warm.

I’d heard of nursing mother cats accepting unrelated kittens, but I’d never seen it and I wasn’t sure how to approach the possibilities—blindfold Maggie? Put Vaseline on her nose so she wouldn’t smell the strange intruder? We ended up just placing the kitten with Maggie and hoping for the best. Thankfully, the best is what happened.

The tiny being eagerly nursed and Maggie immediately accepted her. It was beautiful to see. The little one, I think we called her GrayGirl or something like that, well she thrived, but certainly not to the degree that her step-siblings did. Talk about the ugly step-sister… Even when she reached what should have been the cute kitten stage, GrayGirl was still homely. But she was as sweet as could be, she was healthy, and, when she was old enough, she won the heart of a friend and was given a forever home. Don’t you love a happy kitty-cat ending?

Max and baby Lily

We’ve read about cats who adopt kittens and become sort of surrogate grandparents for an abandoned litter, for example. And there are stories of cats that have saved other cats from harm. But some cats go above and beyond for their fellow cats.

Do you have a cat who has given back in some way? Ever thought of offering your cat as a blood donor for other cats who need a transfusion? There are cats who do this. Here’s an article about such cats. It explains the process of cats giving blood: There are also kidney donors. Yes, veterinarians can do kidney transplants on cats who were, perhaps, born with kidney disease or who nibbled on a seriously poisonous plant or substance and their kidneys failed. Learn more here:

My favorite cat rescue story features a grumpy, nasty-tempered, older male cat who landed in a shelter. He was not happy until a litter of abandoned kittens showed up. As I recall, when the kittens walked closer to the ornery male, volunteers rushed to their rescue. They didn’t trust him around these vulnerable kittens. As it turned out, he began to nurture them. He let them crawl all over him and even seemed to enjoy it. In that moment, everything changed for this misfit male. He became the shelters surrogate grandfather to homeless kittens. Sorry, I couldn’t find a link to that beautiful story. Maybe you know the one I’m talking about.

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