Dog adopts nine kittens at Surrey animal hospital

METRO VANCOUVER — Traditional arch enemies dog and cat appear to have made peace at a Surrey animal hospital where nine orphaned kittens are being fed by the most unlikely of nursemaids.

A two-year-old chihuahua named Buttercup has adopted two separate litters of kittens, five abandoned and four premature, and is nursing them back to health.

Her owner, Lisa Scribner, 37, said Buttercup feeds and cleans them just as though they were her own puppies.

"One of the kittens is almost as big as the dog. We call him Muffin," said Scribner, who has worked as a veterinarian assistant for five years at the Angel Animal Hospital.

The bittersweet tale began two weeks ago when Buttercup gave birth to a puppy named Petey, who died four hours after birth because he wasn’t fully formed.

Scribner said it broke her heart to see her beloved Buttercup looking so forlorn.

"She was so depressed," she said. "When I tried to take the puppy she put her paw on my hand as if to say ‘No.’ She scooped him underneath her and lay on him. It was hard on her and me. She would follow me and whine. She kept looking for him. I don’t care what anybody says: she would cry. Her eyes would tear up. She wasn’t eating or drinking. It was depression."

But then Scribner received a call at the hospital about five kittens that had been abandoned during the night in a yard in Surrey.

"They were starving. They had been a full night and a full day without food. When we got them they were very weak and meowing," she said.

Buttercup went straight up to the kittens and started cleaning them. And it wasn’t long before the wee animals latched on.

"She still had milk and she took to these babies right away. She hasn’t left them since and is very protective."

Scribner was concerned about what would happen to Buttercup when the five kittens were weaned and sent to their new homes.

But then along came four premature kittens on Thursday, after the veterinarian had to perform a C-section on the dying mother cat.

Buttercup is now the adoptive mother of nine tiny creatures, and not one of them is a dog. Scribner said her chihuahua seems happier than ever before.

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