The Puppy Is Cat-ching On

, , , , | Healthy Related | September 18, 2017

One of my friends works for the local vet’s office. It’s a small town with no animal shelter, so if strays are found, the vet will usually take them for a few days until they can find the owner, or place them in a home. My friend knew we’d lost our dog a few months before, and called me up one day to say that they’d just been brought a litter of stray puppies that they needed to find homes for, and if my family wanted one, she’d bring one over that night.

My family talked it over, and even though we weren’t really ready to move on from our other dog’s death, we knew the vet’s office would have trouble finding homes for a full litter of puppies and didn’t have the room to take care of them, and decided it was better for us to take one. So, that night, my friend brought over a tiny golden retriever puppy.

She’d warned us that the puppies they’d found were too young to be away from the mother, which is part of why they were so worried about being able to find good homes for them, but we hadn’t realized just how young they were until she showed up. We fed and cleaned the puppy and made a bed for her where she’d be warm, but the poor thing was clearly stressed out, and started crying as soon as we walked away. We were worried that we’d have to stay up with her all night, when our rather elderly male cats, who’d been very curious about the new arrival, decided to step in.

After sniffing her and touching noses, both of our cats decided that this tiny little thing was probably some kind of strange kitten, and it was their job to take care of her. They curled up on either side of her and started grooming her, and the puppy immediately stopped crying, and snuggled in. My dad had set an alarm to remind him to get up and feed her, but shortly before the alarm went off, one of the cats came and woke him up. For the week or so after that, the cats continued to let us know when the puppy needed to be fed or taken outside, until she was old enough to eat solid food and let us know herself.

As the puppy grew up, the cats continued to take care of her. They taught her how to go up and down stairs, how to find the best spots to nap in the sun, that she should stay away from the road, to come when the humans called her, how to groom herself, and where the treats were kept. The puppy never did get the hang of climbing trees, but she’s surprisingly adept at stalking mice and chipmunks!

The cats were a bonded pair, and they died within a few months of each other when the puppy was three. A few years later, she found our kitten, and happily carried on what her foster parents had started, cuddling and comforting the new arrival and teaching her all the important things. So, our dog thinks she’s a cat. Our cat thinks she’s a dog. Our animals may be a little confused, but they all get along beautifully, and no one seems to mind when the new kitten plays fetch!

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