Golden Retriever Nurses Stray Kitten


(AP Photo/The Winchester Star, Scott Mason) :: Precious, right, a 6-week-old kitten, gets a meal from Honey, a 7-year-old dog Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007 in Stephens City, Via. The golden retriever _ had not given birth in 18 months, but after her owner, Jimmy Martin, brought home the kitten, she suddenly found herself playing the role of mother. Honey began producing milk for the little feline after hearing its cries.


Updated: 10/8/2007

STEPHENS CITY, Va.

A stray kitten has found a new mother in a golden retriever, who began producing milk for the little feline after hearing its cries. Honey hadn't given birth in 18 months, but after her owner, Jimmy Martin, brought home the kitten, she suddenly found herself playing mom.

''She started licking her and loving her. Within a couple of days, Honey started naturally lactating,'' said Kathy Martin, Jimmy's wife. ''The kitten took right to her, and she started nursing her.''

Jimmy Martin noticed the kitten, whom the family dubbed ''Precious,'' about six weeks ago, when she ran in front of his concrete truck. After following her and realizing there was no mother cat in sight, he took her home.

The kitten refused to drink from a bottle, and Jimmy's mother, Ruth Martin, feared Precious would die.

The family initially tried to keep Precious and Honey apart, fearing the dog would play too rough with the little gray-striped kitten. But Honey was elated at Precious' presence, wagging her tail and prancing all over the house trying to sneak a peak at her. Eventually, the family let Honey approach Precious, and the dog immediately took to her.

The Martins said they told a veterinarian about Honey and Precious, and learned that interspecies nursing does happen on rare occasion.

Precious now sometimes plays with dog bones, and Honey lets Precious gnaw on her like a puppy would.

''She thinks she's a dog,'' Kathy Martin said. ''She's really fit right in.''

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Information from: The Winchester Star, http://www.winchesterstar.com


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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