Photo: Satin the cat nursing a puppy
Satin's kittens accept Charlie the rottweiler like a brother.

Photograph courtesy Bob Child/ AP Photo

Steven Timblin for National Geographic Kids

Things didn’t look good when Charlie the rottweiler was born at Meriden Humane Society. Charlie’s mother was too sick to nurse him, and workers struggled to keep the puppy healthy by bottle-feeding him every two hours. Luckily, Satin the cat came to the rescue.

Satin was nursing her own kittens, and exhausted workers hoped she might be willing to add one more to her family. “She loved it when we put them together,” says director Marlena DiBianco. Satin fed Charlie for three and a half weeks. Her kittens welcomed the puppy like a brother, wrestling and sleeping with them.

In 17 years at the shelter, DiBianco has never witnessed anything like a cat nursing a puppy. That didn’t matter to Satin. Even as Charlie grew, the cat still mothered him. “He was twice her size and she would still groom him,” DiBianco says.