“She was trying to tell us, ‘This little creature belongs in my family.’”
Nala was just a newborn when she was abandoned alone in a dirt alley. A kind neighbor heard the tiny tabby’s cries and brought her to the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) in Spokane, Washington.
The little kitten had never known a mother’s love, but soon, two unusual moms would step forward to help her grow up strong.
Found at such a young age, Nala had to be placed with a foster family to have the best chance of survival. When Jamie Myers saw a plea for help on Facebook, she jumped at the chance to take in the kitten. She was fostering a cat who had recently lost a number of her babies and knew Nala would fit right into the little family.
“She was about a week and a half younger than my group, so I said, ‘My mama is pretty wonderful. She’s been very accepting so let’s see if she can’t nurse,'” Myers said. “Nala nursed straight away and mama took her in instantly. She started licking her, and grooming her and showing her acceptance and love.”
By the time the mama cat and her babies were ready to be adopted, Nala still wasn’t quite big enough to find her forever home.
“She did everything later than the rest of the group,” Myers said. “When they all opened their eyes, she still had her eyes closed, and when they started toddling about, she was still latched onto Mama nursing.”
Nala was alone once again — but not for long. Myers had taken in a dog named Izzy who had recently had puppies. Izzy’s paws were full nursing her own litter, but she was still determined to adopt the lone kitten.
“The mama dog kept trying to get Nala and pick her up and put her in with the rest of her babies,” Myers said. “She just thought one of the babies was out and missing — she kept trying to put it back and put it back.”
Izzy became more and more insistent that Nala belonged with her, so eventually, Myers decided to take a chance. “The kitten could not walk across the floor without Izzy getting up from nursing to hunt her down,” Myers said. “She was trying to tell us, ‘This little creature belongs in my family.’”
To help the mama dog settle down, Myers placed Nala in Izzy’s pen and supervised their interactions. A remarkable change occurred as soon as Nala joined the group, and Myers knew that she had done the right thing for both dog and kitten.
“As soon as we put Nala in with her babies, she settled and was happy and all was right in her world again,” Myers said. “And Nala just all the sudden had all these little warm bodies for snuggles and love, and a new fur mama to care for her, and she just fit in with her second foster family.”
Nala quickly adjusted to her new routine with her dog family: “She would get in and out of [the pen] on her own. So when she was done snuggling, she’d get out and go eat her kitten food and play for a little while, and then she’d go right back in,” Myers said. “Whenever she wanted to sleep, she was always in there sleeping with them.”
With the love and care of her three foster families — dog, cat and human — Nala grew bigger and was finally ready for adoption.
But for Izzy, Nala finally leaving the house was bittersweet. Luckily, Myers knew just what to do to settle Izzy down again.
She agreed to foster a bonded pair of kitten sisters desperately in need of some love and attention. And Izzy couldn’t be happier, Myers noted: “Now Izzy has two more kittens she’s loving on.”
Izzy proves a mother’s love knows no bounds — no matter the species.