Missy the cat sure does. The silky white feline is nursing four orphaned puppies.
Two days after giving birth, Jeanette Raulston’s purebred dog disappeared early Saturday morning, leaving behind four hungry Pomeranian puppies.
“I bawled all morning,” said Raulston, 69.
Her daughter and grandchildren combed their Medical Lake pasture for signs of Ivy. They found only fur tangled on a rake, surrounded by paw prints. Neighbors said they’d seen a cougar prowling in the area.
Heartbroken, Raulston called everyone she knew, searching for a dog who recently had puppies and was still nursing.
A few more phone calls and she found an unlikely heroine: Missy.
A month ago, Missy gave birth to kittens. Could she provide milk for the puppies, too?
Alicia Wickham, who is fostering the Spokane Humane Society cat, thought it was worth a try.
“It just makes your heart go out,” said Wickham, who lives near Fairchild Air Force Base. “It makes you want to do something. It’s not hurting the kittens any because they’re eating cottage cheese already. The puppies needed it more.”
Saturday night, Missy arrived at Raulston’s door in her travel kennel.
“I had to hold (Missy) down in order to feed them,” Raulston said of her puppies. The forced feedings were repeated every 90 minutes - until Sunday night.
That’s when Missy climbed into the whelping box, rolled onto her side and offered her teats to the palm-sized pups. With eyes tightly shut, they suckled and squirmed and drank until their bellies were bloated. Missy, with the almost-bald pups tucked between her front legs, licked and cleaned them until they fell asleep.
“I feel so relieved now that they have mother’s milk - even though it’s from a cat,” Raulston said. “I just don’t know what I’d do without her.”
Now she can now throw away the nursing bottles and powdered puppy milk she bought from her veterinarian. Before Missy arrived, Raulston tried feeding the litter herself, without success. She held a bottle in each hand, nourishing two pups at a time. Once fed, it was nearly time to start the whole process all over again.
As for Missy, she’s purring from all the belly rubs and petting by Raulston’s grandchildren, Makayla and Cody.
Wickham said she won’t part with her heroic cat, though. She’ll adopt her as soon as the puppies are weaned.
“It’s a miracle. Otherwise, I probably couldn’t have saved them all - maybe just two,” said Raulston. “That’s the truth. She’s our miracle kitty.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo