Motherhood can extend between species, as proven by one cat and her unlikely new family member.
Jada, a British shorthair cat in Brookfield, Connecticut, adopted a newborn Chihuahua following what proved to be a troublesome entry into the world last week for the puppy, named Lazarus.
“I didn’t think he was going to make it,” the animals’ owner, veterinarian Sharon Eisen, told CTInsider. “This mother has really saved his life.”
Lazarus’s mother underwent a C-section last Wednesday, and since she wasn’t awake for the procedure, she didn’t develop mothering instincts, not producing milk and effectively abandoning newborn Lazarus.
“We had a puppy with no mother and no milk,” Eisen says of the predicament, which she tried to resolve with alternative feeding methods that all proved fruitless.
After consulting colleagues, Eisen decided to test the formulas for both kittens and puppies, comparing the two and ultimately concluding the milks shared enough similarities to warrant having Jada nurse Lazarus.
Eisen then introduced the forlorn pup to Jada, who had recently birthed a litter of kittens, of which she lost one. When she saw Jada cleaning Lazarus as she would her own kitten, Eisen knew that was “key” to the dog being fully accepted.
Since the initial connection, Eisen says Lazarus has been accepted by the rest of the kittens — the animal expert feels Chihuahuas behave closely to “lap cats” anyways.
“I don’t think they know it’s another species,” she says. “As they grow, it will be interesting to see how they interact.”
Due to his rocky start to life, which also included a scare when he wasn’t breathing at birth, Lazarus received his namesake from the Biblical figure known for resurrecting from the dead.
With Lazarus now healthy and stable, living within a unique family, Eisen plans to keep the dog she originally intended to breed and sell.
“After all we’ve gone through to keep this puppy alive,” she says, “I don’t know how we’ll be able to part with him.”