Dog produces milk for adopted kitten

There were many odd looks at the Gore and Districts SPCA over the past week as manager Tanya Rowling's Australian kelpie Phoenix presented her new baby in the form of a three-week-old grey kitten.

The male kitten had been found at the dump on Friday and because it was so young and had eye damage Miss Rowling took it home to care for it.

On her return to the lounge to feed the kitten,she discovered it was missing.

"I walked into my room and there was Phoenix and the kitten all curled up on my bed," she said.

Phoenix, who at three years has never had puppies, started producing milk for the kitten by Friday evening.

Phoenix has always been a part of the SPCA, coming on talks to schools with her and cleaning up baby kittens, she said. "This is the first one she's stolen and started to produce milk for," Miss Rowling said.

Karen Nicholson, of Combined Vet Services, said although it is unusual it is not uncommon.

The dog would be very hormonal and maternal, she said.

"There are some dogs that will mother all sorts of things," Ms Nicholson said.

Miss Rowling added that Phoenix was very protective of her new baby and although she lets him be taken away, always has one eye on him.

The male kitten will come up for adoption when he is old enough, although Phoenix would not be happy, Miss Rowling said.

This is the first case Gore and Districts SPCA has come across with a dog adopting a kitten.

The Southland Times