Shelter cat takes in rejected, frail newborn kitten — and now they’re both up for adoption

Here’s a Mother’s Day tale that will give your feline heart the warm and fuzzies.

Back in March, an “extremely fragile” newborn Sphynx/American Curl kitten was handed over to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Sante Fe, California.

The owner was desperate.

The four-day-old kitten was rejected by its mother. The other kittens in the same litter had already died.

Cleopatra arrived March 10 in a frail, fragile state. Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

The shelter began bottle feeding the teeny kitten named Cleopatra, but officials knew what the animal really needed was a mother.

The face only a mother could love. Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

Six days later, a pregnant short-haired cat named Bellarina arrived at the shelter. She soon gave birth to three kittens.

She was “extremely affectionate” with her own babies, which made shelter staff wonder.

Within minutes of introducing the hairless, motherless kitten, the bond was set.

The nursing mother “adopted” the hairless kitten as one of her own. Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

“She didn’t just take to her, she fell in love with her,” foster program supervisor Erin Schmitt said in a statement Friday.

“Animals are amazing. It’s as though Bellarina sensed a need in Cleo and decided to not only provide her nourishment, but provide her all the love she’d been missing. She actually takes care of Cleo before her other kittens,” Schmitt added.

Love at first sight. Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

Cleopatra is now “flourishing” with her three adopted siblings, Bean, Biscuit and Bunny.

A family is a family no matter how it comes to be. Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

Bellarina and her original kittens will be available for adoption within the next two to three weeks. 

These three kittens will be available for adoption in a few weeks. Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

Cleopatra, however, will need a few more weeks for her final vet checks and will also be spayed. She’ll be ready for her forever home in early June.

It goes to show a mother’s love is unconditional.

“This Mother’s Day Weekend, the healthy hairless feline is celebrating her chance at a beautiful life, thanks to a mother’s love,” the facility said.

Mother cat “opts to adopt.” Photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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