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What A Hero! Homeless Cat Nurses Kittens While Their Mom Recovers From Emergency Surgery

Apr 09, 2018 06:11AM ● By Theresa Gilman

Betty and kittens rest at the MSPCA adoption center in Jamaica Plain. credit MSPCA-Angell

(Editor's Note: the following information was provided by the MZPCA.)

BOSTON – A homeless cat rescued from inside an abandoned city apartment building has been hailed a hero by staffers at the MSPCA-Angell’s Boston adoption center for stepping in to nurse several kittens born to another cat on March 22, the organization announced today.
“Betty”—a two-year-old orange tabby rescued from the hallway of an apartment building where she was likely abandoned—was lactating upon arrival, even though she had no kittens.  “It’s very possible that her lactating was some kind of hormonal response,” explained Alyssa Krieger, community outreach coordinator for the MSPCA-Angell.
Betty’s arrival at the adoption center proved life-saving for five kittens born to a cat named “Church” last month.  Church had suffered a prolapsed uterus after the kittens’ birth and was unable to nurse them.  Her desperate owner contacted the MSPCA for help.
“Church’s owner was unable to get to our clinic so we rushed to the home and gathered her and newborn kittens and raced them back to the adoption center,” said Krieger. “The kittens were weak and underweight because they were unable to feed.”
Church was in critical condition upon arrival and needed emergency surgery to repair the damage caused by the birth.  While she recovered, Krieger and her team arranged an introduction between Betty and the kittens.
Love at First Sight 
“It’s extremely rare for us to have a mom cat who is able to take over kitten care for another, and we often have to resort to bottle feeding kittens,” said Krieger. “But we were lucky that Betty was able and willing to foster these kittens while their mother recovered because there are so many nutritional and socialization benefits of a ‘real mom.’”
Krieger described Betty’s reaction to meeting Church’s kittens for the first time.  “She was very excited to see the kittens and accepted them immediately. She started grooming them and encouraged them to nurse—and even became a bit protective.”
Most importantly: Betty nursed all five kittens for a full two days.  After two days—and with Church recovering from her surgery—Krieger replaced three of the kittens with her.  “Neither cat was producing quite enough milk for all five kittens but we were very happy to see that each could support half of the litter. This was truly an it-takes-a-village moments.” 
Today the kittens and both moms are thriving.  Betty is in a foster home with a single kitten.  The kitten—and Betty herself—will be ready for adoption once the kitten reaches 10 weeks of age.
As for Church, she’s heading home to the family who misses her.  “Once Church’s kittens are old enough to be adopted, they will come back to our center, from which we will place them into adoptive homes.”
Anyone interested in adopting Betty or the kittens can email [email protected] for more info or visit the adoption center during open hours.
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